Team Effort: Relational & Public Evangelism at its Best

It’s obvious that most pastors today know the importance of updating their evangelistic methods, especially with the unchurched. Some, however, are reluctant to discard all of the ‘old ways’. They believe that there is a definite value to ‘old-style evangelism.’

Lead Pastor, Shane Anderson of New Market Seventh-day Adventist Church in Virginia agrees completely. He feels that the ‘new’ is important but that the ‘old’ has its place, too. He and his team use a ‘combination’ approach.

The Old

Pastor Anderson says he’s a “huge fan” of the public evangelism series. In his case, it’s “18 presentations over two weekends and the weeks in between”.

Anderson understands why some churches, and people, are leary of this method. He acknowledges that in the past, there have been some who have used public evangelism in incorrect ways.

He feels, though, that when this method is “Christ-centered, speaking from the word of God in a relevant way to your community, it works. … There is no other medium I know that can match the effectiveness of helping them over the line of faith to the Lord”.

The New

However, Anderson and his team understand that they need to build good, firm relationships with the people they are expecting to take part in such public evangelism series.

So, they diligently organize a variety of bridge events. Some of these, such as a 5K 10K Run to benefit the local Fire and Rescue Company, is simply ‘a good time for a good cause’. Other events, like Journey to Bethlehem where they get a turnout of a thousand plus community people, are of a more spiritual nature.

No matter what the event, Anderson and his team make sure that those attending are able to sample what’s on offer in a safe, trusting, non-pushy way; learning that ‘rubbing shoulders’ with Anderson, his team, and the people in his church are OK.

This combined approach is getting good results. Anderson explains that his community is a challenging one. Despite the fact that many do not attend church on a regular basis, they all feel affiliated with one church or another. Anderson describes it as an imaginary, well-fortified wall or, as he puts it, “you’ve got your religion and I’ve got mine”.

Anderson usually holds his public evangelism series during the months of January and February. Despite the challenging winter weather, they usually get significant turnouts.

Evidently, he and his team have given their community reasons to trust them.

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