ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–Kevin Goza has long understood the importance of training church members to be comfortable in sharing their faith. Like many pastors, though, he knows that the number of people willing to receive training often depends on the length of the commitment.
His solution: the entire membership of Immanuel Baptist Church in Pace, Fla., was trained during a Sunday School session and worship service earlier this year in a simple method for sharing their faith. The basis of the training was the North American Mission Board’s One-Hour and One-Day Witnessing Workshop materials -– completely rewritten earlier this year to fit today’s audiences and now available for free by a computer.
“It was a God thing, really, because we were able to download the materials off of the Internet,” Goza said.
The concept apparently has caught on with others as well. About 1,700 pastors and other leaders from 11 countries and 72 different denominations or ministries have downloaded the resources since they were posted on the Internet, with plans for training an estimated 140,000 individuals. The materials currently are available in Spanish and English, with Korean and Chinese language versions planned for release later this year.
The downloadable resources for each of the One-Hour and One-Day workshops include a church preparation guide, leader manual, listening guide, PowerPoint presentation and overhead cell masters.
Dick Church, manager of personal evangelism for NAMB, said that while the distribution method is a first for NAMB’s evangelism team, the release also is significant because the resources are based on The NET, a testimony-based evangelism method developed by NAMB. Thus churches have yet another option to incorporate into planning their evangelism strategies.
“We realize that not everybody out there is going to give you 16 weeks for FAITH [Sunday School-based evangelism] training or eight weeks for The NET,” Church said. “Some folks are only going to give you a day or an hour. And we wanted to provide a resource where churches could spend an hour or a day learning about evangelism and be able to use that to confidently share Christ.”
The material is structured so that an individual might start with the One-Hour training, then develop an interest that would lead to later participation in either the One-Day or full NET training programs.
The basic approach of both The NET and the One-Hour/One-Day materials is to teach a simple Gospel outline that incorporates an individual’s personal testimony -– his condition before accepting Christ, what happened when he accepted Christ and how his life has changed since. Available with the training is a small card with the basic outline suitable for a person to use while witnessing to someone. The card — available in bulk at a nominal cost — is the only item that is not downloadable.
“If you spend an hour in training, you’re not going to memorize the entire outline, so the card provides images that collaborate with the verses or the text,” Church said, noting that the card even indicates appropriate spots for including elements of a personal testimony.
The One-Hour and One-Day materials also are flexible enough to allow leaders to adapt parts of each into their own presentation, much as Goza adapted them for teaching through multiple Sunday School classes and a single sermon.
“One of the big barriers I think for most people is having a good feeling about getting the conversation going in the direction of talking about the Lord,” Goza said. “And that’s one of the things I’ve always liked about the various presentations is they provide you a simple outline to get the conversation moving in that direction.”
To learn more, or to download the complete materials, visit www.namb.net/onedaywitness.