by Roger Walter, Pastor of Adventist Community Church of Vancouver
Last month we finished up our “Apocalypse of Hope” seminar. I have learned that evangelism isn’t dead – but I am. I think I will go sleep for a week now! 🙂 It’s a lot of hard work, but one that is well worth it.
We ended with a baptism of 7 individuals. 4 Had already been baptized in the nightly meetings. We have 4 more baptisms already scheduled to take place by the end of the year. Three of those decisions came just last night as I made one final appeal to people to get baptized and become part of the body. One of those ladies had attended every night, had been holding off, and you could see on her face, “I give up…I’ll do it.”
In my spreadsheet that goes back to 2001, it shows that the average cost to bring people through the door for opening night is $189/person. In other words, you have to spend that just to get people in the door. It’s one of the reasons I’m in favor of larger budgets. When you spend $5,000 on a seminar, you’ll get 26 people. At the end of the seminar, you’ll get about 2-3 baptisms. I figured out a long time ago, it’s the same amount of work if 26 people show up or 260 people show up. Spend the money and get higher results. Our cost to bring people through the front door was $125 (that’s only 66% of the average of the seminars I’ve been involved in since 2001 when I started keeping track)
Since 2001, for me, the average cost per baptism has been $2484/baptism. This is still significantly lower than the NAD average of $4-5,000/baptism. If our final cost estimate is right, this seminar came in right at $2,000/baptism. That’s only 80% of the average and only 40% of the NAD average.
Does evangelism work? Absolutely. I still believe that Adventist churches grow differently .
We have a great team at Vancouver. Clearly we are working together and well. It was said best last night as Ginny Allen, one of our elders, prayed over me before the seminar began. “Lord, please help this church to always support evangelism and reaching our community.”
Pastor Danny Kim and a member by the name of Marcelo Camargo did all the organizing and allowed me to just focus on speaking. They did a great job and carried a huge weight of the seminar. Pastor Jeff Richards ran and organized the children’s programming. Both pastors did upfront duties as well and some of the baptisms. Pastor George White and Carolyn Karlstrom our bible worker, were invaluable in the visitation program. What a great team we have and are working all over this county.
Can’t wait till our next seminar. We’ll do it after I sleep this one off though. Now I know why the used to call them Evangelistic Efforts!