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Evangelistic Endeavor -- 27 (Sabb, 10/7)


The church this morning is packed with people and there is excitement over the baptisms that are going to take place. The sermon was about the unpardonable sin. Since this was called a “Sabbath Celebration” and we were baptizing people, it kind of seemed like an inappropriate topic. I thought something more celebratory would be in order but this provided one last chance to call people out of “Babylon.” The evangelist was in full form calling for commandment keeping and coming out of Babylon and we didn’t even finish the church service part until 2pm (We started at 11). After this we did the baptisms and had about 20.

One of the interesting things about the baptism was that most of the people were not baptized because of the meeting itself. Maybe 8 of the 20 had initial contact with Adventists through the preaching series and were regular attendees of the meetings. The rest were people who had prior contact with Bible workers or church members and didn’t come faithfully to the meeting. What it showed me is that Bible work is the most important aspect of a series. In fact, if we placed more emphasis on Bible work and meeting with people in their homes, we wouldn’t necessarily need the preaching series. I think the problem is that within our paradigm, we only do Bible work before a series but if Bible work is ongoing in your church, baptisms will be happening on a regular basis.

I missed the evening meeting but they had a graduation based on people turning in their A.F. lessons and didn’t have a sermon but just wrapped things up.


Anonymous said…
I am not sure that there is strong evidence to say that if we had good personal evangelism going on we would not need a preaching event. I have picked up a few situations over the years where a church or ministry is baptizing a significant number of converts using just a Bible Worker approach, but the overall data appears to favor a situation where both are present. I think the numbers you saw are about typical (8 from the meetings; 12 from personal evangelism), but you have to ask, If there had not been the evangelism campaign, would all 12 have been baptized? There is still a cultural memory for many Americans of "the sawdust trail" or Revivalism. Even if they don't attend, or attend only once or twice, people seem to need such an event to anchor/confirm their actually getting baptized. Perhaps this is generational and fading as a cultural factor. It is hard to tell. How many of the 12 were motivated by that factor and how many came along with the snowball effect of moving toward a baptism day? You probably don't have enough data to answer that question. It is very hard to tease out. But, almost no one has had consistent, significant numbers of baptisms without some kind of preaching event. There is precisely where the hard work of innovation needs to be done in Adventist evangelism.
trevan said…
In our situation, I think we would have had those baptisms even without the series. There were about 5 people baptized BEFORE the series which were the result of Bible work.

You are right though, the traditional paradigm is so engrained in us it's hard to move past. I don't know of many churches that would be gung ho about bringing in a Bible Worker unless a series was involved.

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