MIAMI (BP)–The North American Mission Board’s Inner City Evangelism (ICE) team saw 1,040 men, women and young people come to Christ during a mid-April ICE training conference in Miami.
During the conference, 18 members of the NAMB-sponsored ICE team worked closely with five African American churches in inner-city Miami.
“This is the greatest on-the-job training I’ve ever had — and I’ve worked in Miami for years,” said Clyde Judson, pastor of Good News Little River Church. “The members of the ICE team are completely yielded to Christ. They eat, sleep and talk Jesus. He is their lives. I wish every church in Dade County could have experienced these miracles.”
ICE conferences, held periodically in different major cities since 1997, provide a three-track approach with training in street witnessing, personal evangelism and the SAFE (Setting Addicts Free Eternally) substance-abuse rehabilitation program. A heavy emphasis is placed on immediate application, however, as leaders and conference participants share Christ on inner-city streets. More than 6,000 people have been led to Christ through the ICE team and its conferences in the past two years.
Charles Sullivan of Miami’s Friends Are Us Mission was nearly overcome as he worked with the ICE team during the week.
“It really is no secret what God can do. Never have I seen such boldness in witnesses and such hunger for Jesus in response.” Sullivan noted the training he received in SAFE, led by Troy Smith of Portland, Ore., “will help me deal with alcohol, drug and spiritual problems in my ministry.”
Max Croft, an associate in the evangelism department of the Alabama Baptist Convention, said he was overcome by the spontaneous response of the people on the street when they heard the name of Jesus. “I am excited about the possibility and praying for the ICE concept to become a reality in Alabama. Montgomery, Birmingham, Mobile and other Alabama cities need this training.”
“There is an unbelievable hunger for hope in the inner city,” added Harold Hancock, missions minister at First Baptist Church in Montgomery and former foreign missionary in South Korea. “Almost every person who received a witness responded positively. I’ll never be the same.”
Jerry Passmore, director of the Florida Baptist Convention evangelism department, said the ICE ministry exemplifies the convention’s “Through Every Door” evangelism emphasis. In urging every church to move outside the doors of the church to the doors and sidewalks where people live, he said, “We must no longer simply talk evangelism. We must do it. ICE shows us how to witness now. I am encouraged that Baptists realize they can reach the masses one-on-one.”
The ICE team’s next stop will be a return visit to Dallas, where they will lead a conference May 15-17. During Crossover Dallas in 1997, the team helped lead more than 1,600 individuals to faith in Christ. Team members, joined by college students and other volunteers, also will be among the key participants in Crossover Atlanta, June 6-19.
Bo Mitchell, Mission Service Corps volunteer who led the ICE team in 1998, noted upon leaving Miami, “I’ve been in every state convention in the Southern Baptist Convention and overseas nine times leading witness equipping events. Nothing I have seen in the last 25 years compares with the impact of ICE.”
This article based on reporting by Bo Mitchell.