by Jose Monzon, Pastor of the Ephrata Seventh-day Adventist Church
It had been a long time since the Ephrata Seventh-day Adventist Church had done a public evangelistic series in their church. They were very excited to share their beliefs with the community. When opening night came, we had targeted a specific neighborhood with brochures. We made personal invitations while giving the brochures in the neighborhood. People in general were excited to come and hear the book of Revelation being explained to them. Many promised to come and to invite others to come. Our members were personally inviting their neighbors. It was awesome.
On opening night, we were expecting at least 30+ guests. Unfortunately, not a single guest showed up. At first, we thought it was because we had started on a Thursday. So we waited expectantly for Friday. Friday came with the same result. To make the story short, not a single guest showed the entire week. We were disappointed that none of our hard work had paid off.
At first glance this is a depressing story.
Our experience is the reason why many churches have departed from public evangelism altogether. However, let me point out some good things that happened because the church decided to have the meetings.
- First, members became interested in sharing with their neighbors and co-workers the good news. Efforts in the past had been focused on health classes or seminars. Though these are great events to reach people, they don’t give much room for gospel presentations.
- Second, our church became other-oriented. For a long time, the church had been about “us”. By doing public evangelism it became about others.
- Third, it ignited a passion to reach others. Currently, the church is considering possible ministries to present the gospel to others.
Lastly, it has led our church to invest money in the sharing of God’s good news. Far too many churches pride themselves in having good reserves and saving accounts. While this is not bad, churches should always have these types of accounts, if the money only sits in our accounts it is doing no one any good. God gave us that money in order to invest it in others. By earthly standards, our meetings were a failure. By God’s standards, I believe it has been a success. It helped us to see that for far too long it had been about us. It had not been about God and others. We have not yet shed all of our selfishness, but God is still working on us.