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‘On-the-job training’ yields 120 new believers

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (BP)–Larry Askew’s three-member
witnessing team thought twice about visiting an apartment
complex in an area of Daytona Beach, Fla., not exactly known
for safety. But deciding to trust God, they forged ahead,
expecting to find a 65-year-old man inside the first door
they knocked on.
Instead, they walked in on a 30-something couple about
to enjoy a spaghetti dinner.
“We asked about the guy we were coming to see, and they
said he didn’t live here anymore,” Askew, associate pastor
of Highview Baptist Church, Louisville, Ky., said. “We could
have just left at that point, but we decided to ask them if
we could share with them.”
A short time later, the couple prayed to receive
That’s just one example of dozens of testimonies shared
by pastors, church staff, lay leaders and denominational
workers attending the Jan. 19-23 “FAITH Originator Clinic”
at First Baptist Church, Daytona Beach, Fla.
A joint project of the Southern Baptist Sunday School
Board and the North American Mission Board, FAITH ties
ongoing personal evangelism training to a church’s Sunday
school organization. Church members agree to attend 16
training sessions and practice what they learn in home
visits. The initiative also includes weekly meetings for
Sunday school teachers and group leaders, intentional
discipleship and plans for assimilating new Christians into
the life of the church. The strategy is patterned after a
program carried out at First Baptist Church, Daytona Beach,
the last 12 years.
In addition to attending day-long training sessions and
several revival-like worship services, the clinicians also
hit the streets to share their faith in homes, hotels,
fast-food restaurants and on the beach. Placed in
three-member teams with members of FBC Daytona Beach, they
led 92 people to faith in Christ in one night using the
FAITH witnessing approach. And during the five-day meeting,
more than 120 conversions were reported.
Among the new converts: an 84-year-old woman who had
been going to church all her life but had never made a
profession of faith, a 39-year-old single mother and her
daughter, a Muslim couple and two people eating dinner at a
Burger King restaurant.
Mike Fetters, youth pastor at Village Baptist Church,
Oklahoma City, had to face several distractions while
sharing with one young woman, including her two children —
a 3-year-old and a new baby.
Even so, the woman prayed to accept Christ and was
excited about becoming involved in Sunday school at FBC
Daytona Beach.
Fetters described the FAITH strategy as “an incredible
tool for witnessing. It is so brief and concise and clear.
It can even be used to reach adults who think they don’t
have the time to listen.”
Jane Sigmon, a layperson at Hickory Grove Baptist
Church, Charlotte, N.C., led a woman she met on the beach to
faith in Christ. After learning the woman was living in a
nearby hotel with her unemployed husband and two children,
she made a follow-up visit later that day. As a result, the
two children made professions of faith.
“For so long we’ve kept evangelism out of the Sunday
school where it needs to be,” Sigmon said. “People don’t
realize the seriousness of sharing their faith. Because of
FAITH, I think we’re going to see a great move of souls
being saved like never before because this helps equip
people who would be the most unlikely to share their faith.”
Bill Taylor, director of the Sunday School Board’s
Bible teaching-reaching division, said he was “overwhelmed”
by the success of the FAITH Originator Clinic.
“We had no idea it would happen like this, but it
really convinces me that we were led of the Lord when we
decided to reclaim the birthright of Sunday school —
evangelism. God is in control of this.”

    About the Author

  • Chip Alford