Have you been frustrated because you are in an area where it is especially difficult to share the Gospel? Consider this testimony from Mark Keith, the Director of Evangelism for the Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention.
I heard Bobby Welch speaking one time at our Utah-Idaho State Evangelism Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, and someone made the comment that the FAITH Evangelism Strategy would not work in Utah. In one of his messages, Brother Bobby commented on this shared opinion. He then told us that if you knocked on ten doors in Salt Lake City and shared the Gospel, at least one person would come to faith in Christ.
I next went to a FAITH meeting in Salt Lake City, and on Thursday night we went out to share the Gospel. We knocked on ten doors, and out of that number, one person prayed to receive Christ! What Brother Bobby told us was true! Intentional evangelism works even in difficult places.
The Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention did some research on FAITH and its effectiveness — here is what we found. Half of all our baptisms, convention-wide, came from our FAITH-trained churches! The first year we did the study, 42 percent of our baptisms came from our FAITH-trained churches. The next year of the study, 50 percent of our baptisms came from our FAITH-trained churches. What caused the increase? By this time, we had more FAITH-trained churches!
A specific example of how effective FAITH has been in the Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention is Soda Springs Baptist Church in Soda Springs, Idaho, an area that is about 80 percent Church of Latter Day Saints. Pastor Chris Zeller, who is currently pastoring in California, had asked me for an evangelism strategy for his church, and I recommended FAITH. When he asked how he could be trained, I told him if he would wait eight months I would train him myself after I received FAITH Lead teacher training. At that point, I would be equipped to lead a clinic in his area. Chris told me he didn't want to wait that long, so we directed him toward another clinic.
When Chris returned, he was a man on a mission. He immediately began implementing the FAITH Evangelism Strategy in his church. He began visiting and using FAITH even before leading his church through their first semester. Chris was amazed how effective the FAITH presentation was. Every time I called Chris to see how he was doing, he would report experience after experience where lost souls were saved. In less than two years, teams from Soda Springs Baptist Church led seventy-five people to Christ. Chris's comment to me after he returned from his first clinic was, "Why aren't all our churches using FAITH?" It's a question I'm asking myself as well.
I've said it before, and I hope you'll hear it as I say it again: The point of this is not to push FAITH — it is to underscore the need for intentional evangelism. If you prefer another evangelism tool, then please, by all means use it! In fact, the only ineffective evangelism tool is the one you don't use. God blesses our efforts when we obey Him and take the Good News of Jesus Christ out to the people!
And I agree, there are cold, hard places in our country where people have no desire to come to church. But that doesn't mean they don't need Christ, and it doesn't negate the command to "go" that was given to each of us by our Lord. Nineveh was a mean, hard place, but the Lord had something special in mind. He was working, and Jonah failed to recognize it. Guess what, God is working in your area and wants to use you — if you are ready and available. People need the Lord — even more so in hard, cold places. They won't come unless you go and invite them. There's a little girl and a little boy out there, and along with their mom and dad, this family desperately needs the Lord to survive.
God bless you as you go!