One of the exciting things about the Gospel is that it has no boundaries of nationalities, as you will read in the testimony below from Pastor Dennis Littleton of First Baptist Church, Palm Coast, Florida. Church folks are an interesting bunch, to say the least. But one thing is sure, all church folks have the same Jesus urging them to be "salt and light" in a very dark world. The world's only hope is knowing Christ.
Our church is starting its seventh semester of FAITH evangelism. Thanks to this intentional approach to disciple making, God has given our church unprecedented opportunities to share Christ's Gospel of love and forgiveness throughout our community and beyond.
As I write, we are beginning this new semester with seventy-five church members who have already been trained in evangelism, and we are expecting a new class of "newbies" this month to enroll as beginners.
The profile of those people in our church who enroll to learn how to share their faith is as diverse as our congregation. We are a reflection of the Family of God. We are Caucasian, African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Cambodian, Latin, Russian, European, and Asian. We range from teenagers to octogenarians. We see the spark of the Holy Spirit ignite the most unlikely of people and set them on fire for evangelism.
Since the beginning, we have rejoiced as we share the story of each life that comes to Christ through our evangelism teams. The story of Steve and John is only one of many that demonstrate God's faithfulness to the one who tells and to the one who hears. Steve, a presenter, shares his faith as he works on construction crews around the county. In February of 2008, Steve was installing siding on a house, listening to Christian radio. He was unaware that a young man named John was working with a roofing crew installing metal work. When the words to a song piqued his interest, John asked Steve to turn up the radio. Steve took the opportunity to engage John in conversation about his relationship with Christ. Steve said later that he called his prayer partners to start praying for John's salvation. Two days later, John found Steve during a lunch break. John remembers: "We started talking about Jesus, heaven, and eternity. He explained what having faith was all about; how God forgives us if we ask Him; how this forgiveness is available to everyone; that just doing good deeds isn't enough; that we need to repent and turn away from sin; to receive Jesus and make Him Lord of our lives. After hearing these words, Steve offered to lead me through a prayer, and just like that, I turned my life over to Jesus."
John continues his testimony: "A couple of days later, I volunteered to help with the siding crew where Steve was working, and we worked together for another month. During this time, I was changing in many ways. Old habits that had chained me for thirty years fell by the wayside. Jesus loved me, and I knew it. The relationship with my girlfriend, Erin, changed. I wasn't able to explain to her what was going on. Steve suggested we send another evangelism team to Erin's house and explain the Gospel to her. Thirteen days after I gave my life to Jesus, Erin did the same. One month later, we were both baptized. In December of 2008 we were married!
"I am now using the same evangelism strategy with others. In May 2008, I was able to use the Gospel presentation to speak to a co-worker who gave his life to the Lord that day. Last February, two friends came for bike week. While they were staying in our home, I had the opportunity to share with them. They both gave their lives to Jesus. Erin and I are members of another church now, and we are part of The Christian Motorcycle Association. We have been on two mission trips and are going on our third in May."
This testimony is one of many that has made our church a place where the Gospel is being preached from the pulpit, presented in the Sunday School classes, and more importantly, being presented in the marketplace and throughout our community "as we are going" for Jesus.
The Bible reminds us: How will they know except we tell them? And don't forget the Lord's command: Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. I thank the Lord for pastors who love their congregations enough to challenge them to learn how to personally share their faith so that someone will have the opportunity to say "yes" to Jesus. Now that's being salt and light, and you will change eternity for someone. I beg you to make that a priority this year.