Imagine this scene! The lights are on at your church on Tuesday evening. The parking lot is jammed. Church members are gathering for an evening of witness. People are on their knees seeking God. Earnest, heartfelt prayers of intercession for the lost ascend to God’s throne. Visitation teams leave the church to visit former Adventists and encourage them to return to church. Parents and children are distributing literature in the neighborhood. Pastors and lay people are giving Bible studies. Lay members are preparing to conduct an evangelistic reaping series. The Holy Spirit is being poured out. Revival fires are kindled. The church is ablaze with the glory of God.
Is this a picture of your church? It can be. We have just witnessed what God can do in a local church. Hundreds came to Christ and accepted the Three Angels Message during our recent evangelistic meetings at the Forest Lake Church in Apopka, Florida. God does amazing things when pastors and lay people unite in mission.
Thousands of Seventh-day Adventist lay people worldwide are rediscovering the joy of sharing their faith. They have a new understanding of their role as Christians. The Biblical truth of God’s call to be His witnesses has lifted their vision and transformed their lives. They are sharing their faith with renewed enthusiasm. A sense of excitement about what God is doing through them has elevated their own spiritual experience.
Where the church is growing around the world, lay people are actively involved. Evangelistic success is largely dependent on an active laity. Sensing we are nearing the return of our Lord, many church members are giving their time, using their gifts and actively witnessing.
esus gave a definite call to service to the New Testament church when He declared, “you shall be witnesses unto me . . .” (Acts 1:8).
Lay involvement is the key to fulfilling the gospel commission. Acts of the Apostles, page 111 says:
“The work of God in this earth can never be finished until the men and women comprising our church membership rally to the work and unite their efforts with those of ministers and church officers.”
God is gathering lay people around the world for a final movement at the climax of earth’s history. He will pour out His Spirit through them as they use their gifts to proclaim the ‘Good News’
Now is the time to lift our vision to what Christ is doing in the world. This is the time for a renewed sense that God is reaping His final harvest. As you step out in faith allowing God to use you many will accept Christ and His truth for these last days. There will be people in heaven as a result of your witness, Bible studies and lay evangelistic meetings.
2009 is the Year of World Evangelism. God is inviting each one of us to do greater things for Him. Think of what you can do to share the ‘good news’ of the gospel with those around you.
How can you make a difference in your church? What can you do to participate with Jesus and cooperate with your pastor to hasten the Lord’s return?
My husband and I have been in ministry for 41 years. Since 1974 we have been involved in full time public evangelism. Although I have worked in various aspects of public evangelism, a few years ago I sensed a growing conviction to conduct a series of evangelistic meetings myself. After agonizing with God, although I had feelings of inadequacy, I could not shake the conviction that He wanted me to hold my own series. I received encouragement to follow my convictions from my husband, Mark and Ralph Ringer (Then Florida Conference Evangelism coordinator) and others to move ahead. I felt the only way my plan would succeed was if I preached my husband’s proven sermons. This meant I would have to take every word from the Revelation of Hope audio tapes and transfer them to my computer to be formatted with the graphics. What I did not realize was that it would take me over 300 hours to do only part of the project. My daughter, Rebecca, and my son-in-law, Loren, helped me complete the sermons just in time to preach my own evangelistic meeting in Apopka, Florida. Although God blessed the meetings with many baptisms I realize now that God impressed me to do this series of meetings so I could encourage other lay people to do public evangelistic meetings as well.
This power-packed biblical series of Revelation of Hope sermons, graphics, and scripts are now prepared and ready for pastors and lay members to preach powerfully right off the computer. I had to step out of my comfort zone to conduct my first series of evangelistic meetings. This last year I had the privilege of going to my home town, Portland, Maine, to conduct another series in the University of Southern Maine auditorium. I was blessed once again to see many respond to God’s last day message. When we are willing to step out of our comfort zone and get involved in the most exciting work in the world, soul-winning and evangelism, God blesses in remarkable ways.
When I think of how God has led His people and guided the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the past, I am confident He will do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think in this Year of Evangelism.
God’s promises are sure! There will be a great harvest! And we will grow spiritually as we commit our lives to the most wonderful work in the world—soul winning.
Ernestine Finley is a partner in ministry with her husband, Mark Finley. Together they conduct trainings for laymen and bible workers throughout the world.