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‘Pockets of lostness’ become conf. training ground

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) — Evangelism and disciple-making training was put into immediate practice during a three-day GO Engage conference at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The conference’s interactive training sessions and field practicum, capped at 100 participants at the campus in Wake Forest, N.C., was attended by seminary students, members of local churches and from as far away as Delaware and the Czech Republic.

Experienced trainers from around the United States taught on such topics as reproducing evangelism and disciple-making, starting Bible studies in homes to reach lost people and raising up leaders from the harvest.

For the field practicum, attendees engaged “pockets of lostness” in neighborhoods identified as the least evangelized in the Raleigh/Durham (RDU) area.

George Robinson, SEBTS associate professor of missions and evangelism, reported that conference attendees and trainers saw much fruit as they shared what they learned with people in more than 300 homes.

“‘In all, we engaged people from over two dozen ethnicities, sharing the Gospel in each encounter,”‘ Robinson said. “‘We are aware of eight people who repented and put their faith in Christ on the spot…. Almost half of the homes engaged gave their contact information and asked to have someone come back and share more.”‘

Robinson coordinated GO Engage, a collaborative effort involving SEBTS’ Center for Great Commission Studies, the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and the No Place Left evangelism movement’s RDU coalition.

Eight RDU-area churches partnered to connect with people who heard the Gospel during the Sept. 8-10 GO Engage training. Already, a church in the area has followed up with two new believers who accepted Christ during the event and is helping them establish a Bible study group with others from their home country.

Particularly different for this training was that Robinson and other SEBTS professors attended the event as learners rather than teachers. A few of the trainers, in fact, once were SEBTS students under Robinson’s mentorship. As he trained and mentored them during their time at SEBTS, so they trained him and others on what they have learned about evangelism and disciple-making in the field.

“‘I intentionally did not have any SEBTS faculty training because I wanted to model for our students that we, too, are lifelong learners,”‘ Robinson said.

Many attendees took what they learned home to train others. With the excitement and confidence generated from the teaching and practicum, one local church hosted a mini-training session where those who attended GO Engage joined other members to engage an additional 100 homes in Wake Forest.

“‘The ripple effects have already been shared with me related to students and church members intentionally engaging their own communities with the Gospel,”‘ Robinson said. “‘It is our hope and prayer that we can host a two-day training at the beginning of each academic year and a mini-training and practicum associated with the GO Conference course each February so that our students can walk alongside us in prayer, evangelism and disciple-making.”‘

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  • Harper McKay