With a fresh commitment to making disciples, staff at First Baptist Church Longview, Washington, began the year by launching the evangelistic effort “Who’s Your One?” “This has been a two-year process in how to share Jesus with people,” said Pastor Cameron Williams.
“We launched the 2022 emphasis in January with four different staff members preaching on the topic after putting it on the back burner due to quarantine requirements, which caused us to turn inward for a time,” Williams said.
“We brainstormed how to get our people to turn outward again. All of 2022 is about ‘Who’s Your One?’”
Aaronn Nelson, connections pastor at FBC Longview, first saw an idea at a sister church for engaging their people in a tactile way. He shared with the church staff the idea of using balls in a variety of colors members could initial to represent a succession of evangelistic encounters with friends, family members and co-workers.
Newest staff member, Rusty Patton, pastor to children and young families, created a lighted display made with plexiglass that allows participants to thoughtfully commit to pray for the one person with whom they hope to share the gospel.
Participants initial a white ball and drop it in the display. Gold colored balls are added to symbolize gospel conversations. Then as some come to faith in Christ, are baptized and become growing disciples finding a place of ministry, different colored balls are added to the mix.
Working in tandem with this public emphasis, church leaders offered a four-week intensive study based on the book “Godspace,” by Doug Pollock, a free resource offered by the Northwest Baptist Convention.
“At the beginning of our class, we took a survey that allowed people to see how outwardly focused they were,” Nelson said. “We ran through that course in four weeks so people were able to engage but not be overwhelmed.
“The material covered how to have positive conversations and being aware of others which led to full gospel conversations because they created the ‘God space,’” he noted. “We had 25 adult participants, and by the end of the course the same survey saw their outward focus rise by 10 points, which is tremendous growth.”
‘A beautiful thing to see’
Meanwhile, Patton offered a study on “I’m a Christian Now” for children to build an evangelistic passion among the younger set. Children are joining their parents in praying for their “one” and dropping balls in the display.
“We have seen double the deposit of balls as we progressed through the month and it continues to grow,” Williams said. “It is a beautiful thing to see. We rethink this on a monthly basis and continue to mention it from the pulpit weekly.”
Stations are displayed in the lobby with evangelistic material available for personal study. Staff members are praying for their own opportunities to share.
“Our goal is to help people see we are agents of transformation,” Williams said. “This has been a great way to gauge our compassion, and help them be more purposeful. God will then take care of the transformation. This display board is an expression of that compassion and baptisms would be great reflections as well.”
Church members can request a staff member to help them personally in their quest to become more evangelistic.
“We have a hard time keeping the resources on hand at the ‘transformation stations’ set up in the lobby,” Williams noted. “Training videos are also available for folks to take home as well. The Lord is really leading us and we just want to be obedient.”