Throughout the pages of Scripture we find people on a journey – a journey that involves faith. Most notably, Abraham, left his familiar surroundings to follow God’s leading to a new country, new environments and a new perspective on what it meant to follow the Lord. The book of Hebrews in chapter 11, where an extensive list of people on a “faith” journey are presented as models of those who are truly seeking God’s leading.
Following a strong sense that the time was right for LifeSource Community Church, a five year-old Adventist church planted in Coeur d’Alene, to hold it’s first public evangelistic series, the theme “Journey of Faith” was chosen. Prayer and preparation for the series began nearly two years previous and was supported by ongoing prayer for the meetings, personal contacts by church members with friends, neighbors and family, and a professionally produced series of commercials on secular cable television.
An attractive brochure was designed to capture the interest of our target audience, young families in our community. This was mailed to over forty thousand homes in the greater Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls areas. Since we are a relatively “new” Adventist church, we did not expect instant name recognition, but it has all been part of our strategy to create a healthy “buzz” by our non-traditional approach to sharing the Three Angels message with our community. Even our room set up was with round tables and padded church chairs where members were encouraged to spread out and meet new people, which they were eager to do.
Using a specially designed website through SermonView.com, who also produced our promotional handbill, vinyl banners and business cards for Journey of Faith, we found that nearly seventy community people registered via the special JOF website. We had nearly that many people come during the course of our sixteen presentations that began on October 1, 2009 and ran Thursday and Friday evenings and on Sabbath mornings during worship over three consecutive weekends. On opening night, one hundred and twenty people filled the Methodist church auditorium where the LifeSource meets each week for worship.
LifeSource lead pastor, Phil Muthersbaugh, Upper Columbia Conference Personal Evangelism Director, Dave Livermore, and seasoned Bible workers, Steve and Becki Rogers teamed up together as presenters for the sixteen “Journey of Faith” topical Bible studies.
The response of the LifeSource members was very positive. We saw seven individuals make decisions to either be baptized or continue on as members of the Pastor’s Bible class on Sabbath morning. We followed up this series the very next weekend with professional Christian actor, Bruce Marchiano, who played the role of Jesus in the Visual Bible’s video film, “The Gospel of Matthew.” Nearly one hundred and eighty people attended that Sabbath morning worship presentation where Bruce shared his personal testimony.
Upper Columbia Conference communication department helped us out by renting their video recording equipment and recording the entire series for DVD production and sale to those who wanted copies. Members of our tech ministry team were trained in using professional cameras, switching boards, lighting, etc. which added to the impact of the meetings. Bruce provided UCC’s “He’s Alive” cable television production with an interview to broadcast in their future programming.
God has graciously blessed our efforts which in turn has encouraged us to plan our second evangelism series in 2010 at the new Kroc Community Center as a joint outreach adventure with the Coeur d’Alene Seventh-day Adventist church next October. We are praying for a “green light” as the Salvation Army / Kroc Center administration team processes our request to use the Kroc Center’s four hundred seat auditorium for our next meetings in October, 2010.