“Hurry, we need more chairs!” exclaimed Tom Russell as he recruited members to help him due to the overflow of visitors lined up for registration. As I witnessed the joy and energy of these eager members to accommodate the interest of the local community turnout in Butte, my first thought went back to what the early apostolic church must have experienced when God blessed their faith by following up the work of sowing with a public crusade on the day of Pentecost.
Though we did not see three thousand souls come in, 67 visitors opening night with a church of 15 active members was enough to set the church on fire! After the first week in the local Fire Hall, we transferred to the church with 51 visitors and a lot of excitement to say the least.
Lance Elias, the local head elder says ” We’ve never seen this kind of turnout and interest in this community before.”… “it’s inspiring”.
Linda Barney attended every night after she received the flyer in the mail. She was scheduled for a planned vacation but experienced an overwhelming conviction to put her plans on hold so she could attend the seminar. Picking up the phone to invite her friend Angela, she learned that Angela received the same flyer and was calling to invite Linda! They both decided to commit together from start to finish. Linda says “The truth was so clear and powerful, it has changed my life.” Both Linda and Angela were excited be baptized together and found a new church family to enjoy their renewed faith!
Donna Bacon, evangelism coordinator of the local church introduced a unique method of reaching out to the younger community. Prior to the series Donna advertised at the local university an evaluation panel of young men and women to attend 10 nights of the series for $150.00 The students were required to fill out nightly evaluation forms of their personal thoughts on the messages and overall opinions of the series. As the series progressed, so did the impact the gospel had on these young evaluators! Out of six students, all six remained with the meetings until the end, and all were baptized and joyfully joined God’s remnant church family!
Patti Ward attended the meetings with a heavy Catholic background. Due to several abusive relationships Patti became an alcoholic and tried several programs to overcome her struggle. When she finally experienced the power of the gospel, Patti was free from her addiction! Many more testimonies of changed lives could be given from this series. At the conclusion the Lord blessed the Butte SDA church with 16 baptisms and 8 more committed to attending a new believers class led by local head elder Lance Elias.
If there is any doubt to the effectiveness of public evangelism, Pentecost should be a reminder of God’s willingness to bring the harvest if the church is willing to be a channel by doing our part in proclaiming the good news of His soon return. Just ask Butte.