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Team effort fuels vigor for witnessing among Midwestern students, local churches

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–Neighbor to neighbor, one person to another is how it starts. Partnering with Kansas City-area churches to spread the Gospel is the goal of Midwestern Evangelistic Teams (MET). The teams spend time each week doing street and neighborhood evangelism by working with local churches.

“Teaching people how to evangelize is a lot like learning a language,” Tom Johnston, assistant professor of evangelism, said. “You can sit in a classroom for as long as you want and study the language, but you won’t see any fruit from your labor unless you go out and use it. Sometimes the best way is immersion, taking them to the field with little or no training and letting them learn firsthand. Evangelism is the same way.”

The teams and church members use tracts and surveys as tools for evangelism. The survey questions are asked on behalf of a local church. Questions may include: What do you think of Jesus? How can the church best provide for this community?

Student Kimberly Cox said a good question is, “‘If something were to happen to you tonight, do you know for sure that you would go to heaven?’ From there, you go straight to the Gospel.”

Tracts are personalized for each church. MET also provides churches with a Church Outreach Logistics Tool (COLT) packet. It contains a personalized tract template, survey forms and publicity bulletin inserts.

“Churches often have no visitation program and feel that MET will be beneficial to them,” Johnston said. “It helps the church by providing them with fresh evangelism contacts and provides their people with the opportunity to share their faith.”

One church impacted by MET is First Baptist Church of Bethel in Kansas City, Kan. Noting that team members took each church attendee back to his or her own neighborhood, pastor Sam Aikens explained, “The idea is to reach people close to your own home.”

With the help of MET, First Baptist has seen at least one husband and wife make professions of faith in Christ and begin attending the church. “It’s been like a breath of fresh air,” Aikens said.

Cox said that in some cases there may only be a couple of minutes to share the Gospel. “I don’t think we can ever emphasize the importance of doing evangelism enough,” she said. “It is absolutely vital in my mind to growing in Christ. God desires for me to be completely sold out to Him, and He will do whatever it takes to get me there. MET has been one of those avenues.”

As a way to get more seminary students involved in sharing their faith, Johnston made it a requirement of his Basic Evangelism class to share the Gospel at least 10 times during the semester.

“The requirement forced me out of my comfort zone,” student Loren Phippen, MET assistant director and street team leader, said. “After several weeks of really struggling to share on the street, the Lord blessed me and used me to lead a man to a saving relationship with Him. It has not been the same since. That semester, I did over 30 contact sheets and was blessed with 10 or more opportunities to pray with people to accept Christ.” Overall, he said, he has led more than 50 people on the street to Christ.

The teams also have worked with churches to coordinate block parties as an evangelistic tool. June block parties attracted more than 200 neighborhood residents near Dynamic Life Baptist Church in Kansas City, Kan., and Roanoke Baptist Church in Kansas City, Mo. Several professions of faith were reported.

“God does radical things on the field, especially with evangelism, and people rarely forget what they see when they are directly involved,” Cox said. “It takes a lot of boldness to take that first step, but it will get easier and more exciting.”
For more information on MET, contact Johnston at (816) 414-3700 or [email protected] James Streicher contributed to this story. (BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at www.bpnews.net. Photo title: SEMINARY-CHURCH TEAMWORK.

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  • Rebecca Megli