Last year several people in our congregation accepted the challenge put forth by the Folkenberg’s to reach out and “ShareHim”. There were about 10 of us who attended a ShareHim Rally in Walla Walla, WA. Later a young couple, Dan and Stacey Brown, went to the Boot Camp. When Dan shared that he wanted to be a part of preaching a series of meetings in our home church, I was thrilled.
We tentatively set the date for the fall of 2008. However it became clear that our church as a whole was not ready for that. We prayed about what God would have us to do. At a pastors retreat in the summer of 2008, Elder Lee Venden announced that he and and his wife Marji had been called to be the revivalists for the Upper Columbia Conference and he was now ready to accept invitations. The Lord impressed me to ask Lee to come to Sandpoint. I thought that probably dozens of other pastors had already asked him but it turned out that was not the case. He was happy to tell me that the Sandpoint Adventist Church would be his first revival series!
I sensed God was blessing in this since I felt our church needed more spiritual preparation to engage in an evangelistic series. As Lee and Marji lifted up Jesus Christ in a real and refreshing way I saw transformations take place in many of our members, especially our young adults. Several small groups were revived or began after the Venden’s series. A real desire to know Jesus as a close and personal friend grew in the hearts of many members, and I sensed that now we could move forward with plans for evangelism in the spring of 2009.
The devil tried to thwart our plans. I spoke with Dan and his wife Stacey one day as we were facing some obstacles. “This may not be the right time to do this,” I told them. “Pastor”, they replied, “This is what God wants us to do!” I was strengthened by the courage they showed. Dan and I agreed that we would co-present using the ShareHim materials. We would title the series, “Quest For Truth”.
These meetings ran from Friday, March 21 through Saturday, April 11 with some follow up Sabbaths later. There were two presentations on Friday evening, one on Sabbath morning, and two on Saturday evening. We had table groups set up to provide for a social atmosphere and discussions. Our goal was to simply do what God had called us to do, leaving the results up to Him.
Attendance at the nightly meetings was 30-35. The majority of those were members of our church, however, a total of seven individuals who were from the community attended over the course of the meetings.
- We have at this point not witnessed any baptisms as a result of this series, but here is what is encouraging.
- There were some members who have not attended church any more who came to at least one meeting and at least one member has shown a renewed commitment to Christ.
- A total of 35 plus members were involved as part of one of the teams (Greeters, Audio/Visual, Table Hosts, Registration, Child care, etc.) for Quest For Truth.
- Some of the most loyal participants in the entire process were the young adults of our church.
- God has shown us that we CAN do evangelism in Sandpoint! I pray for a culture of evangelism to develop and grow stronger and stronger here.
by Pastor Matt Lombard