“Tony, upon the confession of your faith that Jesus Christ died for your sins, I now baptize you in water in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins!” and with that, Pastor Mark North dipped the young man completely under. Tony came up with his hands raised, rejoicing in the Lord.
By Tim Massengale
“Tony, upon the confession of your faith that Jesus Christ died for your sins, I now baptize you in water in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins!” and with that, Pastor Mark North dipped the young man completely under. Tony came up with his hands raised, rejoicing in the Lord. The small group that gathered round the baptismal tank worshiped together for several minutes. There was a tangible excitement in the air. Once the worship died down, Pastor North made a few closing remarks and then dismissed the group to return to their own church.
Coming out of the baptismal room, Mark saw Pastor Vernon Baker entering his office down the hall. “Wait, Elder!” Mark hurried to catch up. “I wanted to thank you again for letting us use your baptismal tank.” Pastor Vernon Baker, and elderly man in his seventies, smiled warmly as he held the door open for him to enter. Mark continued, “Hopefully ours will be repaired by next week. The heater could not have gone out at a worse time. We have been baptizing someone almost every service.”
“That’s wonderful, Mark!” Brother Baker said. “It’s good to see your hard work paying off.”
“Thank you, Elder. But we couldn’t have done it without your help.”
“Oh, I’m not too sure of that. I just gave you a nudge in the right direction.”
Brother Baker motioned Mark to take a chair. The office was large and comfortable. Missions’ mementos decorated the walls. Behind the desk a solid wall of books testified to the elder pastors’ love of reading and study.
“So,” Brother Baker continued, “tell me how it’s going. Is your evangelism program working?”
“Very much so,” the younger pastor replied. “Since you suggested several months back that we focus most of our efforts upon getting visitors out to church, we’ve done just that. We have teams passing out door-hangers and flyers almost every weekend. We also have some kind of special service almost every month. Last month’s Healing Sunday was phenomenal! I told you about it. We had an old fashioned Holy Ghost blow-out. Five people were healed and three received the Holy Ghost. We baptized seven that morning too! The one I baptized tonight is the brother of one of those. We taught him a Bible study last week. Tony came and received the Holy Ghost last Sunday morning. That’s when we discovered our baptismal heater was on the blink. I didn’t have the heart to baptize him in ice cold water. I’m sure he appreciates you letting us use yours.
“Think nothing of it, “Brother Baker replied. “I’m just thrilled to hear the good report. So, is your visitor follow-up going well?”
Mark nodded slowly. “Pretty well — we still have a few bugs to work out. But we are making the phone calls, sending the letters, and visiting each home. Our biggest problem is finding them home. Sometimes we have to go back three or four times before we finally catch them. But so far, everyone’s been friendly and we have set up several Bible studies as a result. Getting return visits too!
“Good, good!” The elder pastor said, nodding. “Just keep visiting each one every three to four months. Keep inviting them back, asking for a home Bible study, and praying for their needs — and keep praying for each visitor! Prayer is the key. Eventually they will respond — either positively or negatively. But praying and visiting is the best way to turn a prospect into a convert.”
Mark nodded agreement. Bro. Baker continued. “And home Bible study? Are you training your saints how to teach and get studies?”
Mark grinned. “Absolutely. Two months ago I taught a home Bible study training seminar on a Saturday. We had twelve attend. I took your suggestion and taught it all in a single day. We started early with coffee and donuts, brought in lunch and finished up early afternoon. Four hours of training. We then paired them up to teach each other a practice lesson or two. The next morning I called them all up, handed out completion certificates, and commissioned them to go out and win souls. All but one has taught at least one study. Many have taught three or four. We have had six converts so far as a direct result. Home Bible study is working!”
“Wonderful! Brother Baker said smiling. “And how about the CCC ministry, Constant Contact Consciousness?
“Well, you know I borrowed the “Christian Soldier’s Workshop” material from you. I went ahead and purchased the Power Point lessons also and taught it to my church as a series on Bible study night. It’s great material about how to be a witness! At the conclusion we launched CCC — only we decided to call it Soul Patrol. I had twenty-seven commit to be involved. Right now they are reporting over four hundred contacts a month. So yes, I think it’s doing well. We get quite a few visitors from their contacts — and Bible studies too!”
“Excellent! Bro. Baker exclaimed. “Now, what about Sunday school and Bus Ministry? How are your child evangelism ministries going?”
“Well, Sunday school attendance is up. We had eighty-six last Sunday morning. Our Friend Day last month was a great success. We had over 130 on that Sunday and we’re still working on making our follow-up visits from that. But I’m struggling a bit with Bus ministry. We’re having trouble making regular contact with the bus parents. My bus captains are trying, but half the time the parents are not even home. Any suggestions?”
Brother Baker thought for a moment. “You read the material I gave you on ParentReach?” Mark nodded. “Good. Then you know it takes time. The principle behind ParentReach is understanding that you must win a friend before you can win a soul. Some parents will be easier to reach than others. But you have an excuse to knock on that door every Saturday. Keep asking to speak with the parent. Keep inviting them to the special services. Get to know them. Talk about whatever they enjoy talking about – sports, job, politics, whatever. About once a quarter schedule a children’s program of some kind that their child will be involved in. Encourage them to come. Keep asking them for a home Bible study. It’s an investment, Mark. But with this approach you can win several parents every year. But the real payoff is the kids! You can see the majority of them receive the Holy Ghost and baptized. Then make sure you involve them in your youth group. Pick them up for regular services. Mark, you can raise up an entire church from Bus Ministry alone! I know, because I’ve done it. We have dozens of young couples in my church that one or both came from Bus ministry. And understand this: There’s just something about reaching out to kids – God puts a special blessing upon churches that ministers to unsaved children, because such is the Kingdom of God!”
Mark sighed. “I know. But you make it all sound so easy. I’m meeting myself coming the other direction trying to keep all this going.”
Brother Baker grinned. “Take heart. It will get easier. Right now it’s all new to you and your saints. But in time, it will become a part of the life and fabric of your church. As you grow, you will get more laborers. Converts will eventually become workers and leaders and they will help share the load. You are doing just fine! Don’t get discouraged. Just keep pushing ahead.”
“Thanks Elder,” Mark said sincerely. “You can be sure I will be calling you for advice regularly.”