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FIRST-PERSON: Making evangelism good news again

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–As most Southern Baptists are aware, these have been difficult days at the North American Mission Board.

I want to encourage you to pray for us, and also to be assured that some of the best leaders I have ever known serve you here. I am so privileged to serve with them. I am daily challenged, encouraged, blessed and excited about the future because of the faithfulness and commitment of the people at NAMB. But even if you might be discouraged about some things that have happened in our building, you should be filled with joy about what is happening in our parking lot.

A.C. Reynolds is an electrician here with us at NAMB. He came to Christ years ago and told me that it just seemed natural to share the Good News that changed his life. So every day he prays, “Lord, please let your Spirit fill me and use me today.” And then he simply looks to see who God will bring into his path. That’s evangelism at its best. Over the years he has knelt with people and led them to Christ on Navy ships, in department stores and business offices.

But when he came to NAMB two years ago, he struggled. After one month here, A.C. found himself in tears one day and said to God, “Lord, how can you use me here? Everyone in this building is saved!” Can you imagine what would happen if all of us were that concerned about turning our marketplace into a mission place?

A.C. soon realized that many people come in and out of our building from different walks of life. He decided he would devote himself to caring about them and sharing with them. He got to know a woman from a copier company who came regularly. One day recently as he was helping her carry some boxes to her car, he asked her about her spiritual condition. She told him that she went to a church but knew that she was not saved. She was disturbed by this and A.C. said, “Well, God can take care of that right here and now.” And they knelt together in the parking lot of NAMB and this precious woman met Jesus!

A.C. came right back in the building and got her a Bible, and she left shedding tears of joy. But A.C. also found out that someone else from her company was being assigned to our building — this was her last time here. So it literally was his last chance to share the Good News with her.

Isn’t our God amazing? I prayed with A.C. recently. I said, “Lord, thank you for a new sister in Christ. Mold her into a mighty woman of God. And thank you for A.C. God, you are capable of taking a humble man’s obedient witness and using it as a testimony that will motivate thousands around the world.”

And I pray that is what is happening as you read this article. Wherever you are, you can be motivated by one ordinary life lived in the joy of Jesus to share Him everywhere you go. Maybe you can even turn your parking lot into a sanctuary, too.

Thanks to my wonderful friends at NAMB for faithfully sharing Jesus in good times and bad. Thanks to First Baptist Church of Cumming, Ga., for being the kind of church that an A.C. Reynolds loves. And thank-you, A.C. You are making evangelism good news again.
John Avant is vice president for evangelization at the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board.

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  • John Avant