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It's a Gated Community — We'll Never Get In!

We've all faced incredible obstacles in witnessing — a strategic key to success in evangelism is not placing limits on what God can do. Consider this wonderful testimony from Greg Davidson, Associate Pastor for Evangelism and Outreach at First Baptist Church in Naples, Florida.

As I begin I want you to know that we are new to FAITH evangelism through Sunday School, and boy, are we excited now! Just listen as I share our testimony of winning the lost and what program we have found that works best for us.

Our FAITH banquet was in January. We had 379 people attend and hundreds committed to FAITH evangelism for the semester through our "All-on-the-Altar" time on Sunday morning.

We have gone through eight weeks now, and we are averaging over 250 every week in FAITH evangelism. We've had almost sixty professions of faith, and this past Sunday alone, we baptized forty-two people to the glory of God. Also, over the last nine weeks, we've averaged 524 more people a week in worship than we did last year at the same time.

One team had struck out visiting, but they noticed a man washing his car. They stopped and conducted an opinion poll with him as his young daughter looked on. When they inquired as to whether he would like to accept God's forgiveness, he said that he most certainly would and he prayed to receive Jesus as his Savior and Lord.

Another team had left a packet about baptism at a house and encouraged the individual, in a note, to follow through and be obedient to the Lord's command. The note also encouraged her to read the information about immersion. The individual, who owns a store in one of our malls, came to the church the next day and shared with us that she was indeed struggling with baptism by immersion. Yet, she was touched that someone had cared enough to visit her home to talk to her about her spiritual journey. God spoke to her through the packet that had been left, and she made and followed through on an appointment to be baptized the following Sunday.

Our city's demographics and the number of gated communities make it extremely challenging to do door-to-door evangelism. We are not known as a friendly community because of all the gates. Most church growth experts had told us that FAITH evangelism could never work in Naples. But the experts discounted the power of God and the passion of our people. Our people believe that door-to-door evangelism is normal and New Testament. They cannot believe that it should be any other way. We decided not to tell them any different. Every week it's exciting to see people come to the church after receiving a personal visit to their homes.

In fact, we did a survey of young professionals. They said they are more apt to let a person through the gate because they have taken the time to come all the way to their home and they have not just called for an appointment — like a telemarketer.

Our pastor, Dr. Hayes Wicker, has stated that FAITH is the finest evangelism strategy he has ever witnessed.

Friends, don't let Satan steal your joy of witnessing and sharing the Gospel. Please don't let him continue to steal lives and families. They are out there. They are waiting for someone who cares enough to try. Don't listen to the naysayers. I'm telling you that you can get into homes where people are waiting for divine appointments. The Lord is preparing the way. Go!

Bobby H. Welch is a member of First Baptist Church, Daytona Beach, Florida, Strategist for Global Evangelical Relations with the SBC Executive Committee, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, and originator of the FAITH evangelism strategy.


May 2008 Edition
Volume 16, Issue 7
May 2008