This past May, for the first time in the history of the Adventist Church, an outreach event took place in Rwanda that is changing the way we look at evangelism. It is not so much revolutionary as allinclusive, and it yielded astounding results—more than 100,000 baptisms in one climactic month!
What made the difference? Something as simple as
a God-inspired novel approach to a well-known method,
and a strategy of total member involvement (TMI).
In 2004, when Mark Finley led the first historic satellite
meetings in Kigali, he preached to a live audience
of 30,000 people. This was unprecedented, as were the
10,000 baptized following the meetings. Many felt we
had found the key to reaching the world with the gospel
message. But it was only the beginning.
So how did we go from 10,000 baptisms in one
event to 100,000? The answer is simple: through Total
Member Involvement, a new General Conference initiative
which goal is to include and involve all church members
in the work of reaching out to others with the gospel
For the Rwanda project, instead of focusing on one
preaching site with one preacher, we planned for multiple
sites with multiple preachers. People from all over
the world were invited to participate. Amazingly, a total
of 2,200 people volunteered—both young and old alike,
male and female, with and without prior experience—all
who were willing to be used by God. And they were welcomed
in Rwanda with open arms.
Churches across Rwanda hosted one or more
preaching sites. The volunteer preachers were asked
to do just that—preach. The local churches took care
of everything else—preparatory Bible studies, visitation
and invitations, nurturing, health and community events,
and a myriad of other duties. Outdoor tents were rented,
camp-meeting style, and the people came every night to
watch the “Jesus Movie” and the presentations.
And the 100,000? It was the modest average of 45 baptisms
per site. Some had many more, some had less, but
God blessed all the sites. With each one doing a little—as
opposed to one person doing a lot—astounding numbers
were reached, and Rwanda was lighted with the glory of
Total Member Involvement evangelism was followed
in Rwanda and it can be implemented at any level, in any
church or conference. Here are a few practical strategies
that any church may follow:
1. Plan ahead. Strategize and decide on a date for the outreach.
2. Ask your church’s prayer warriors to organize a prayer chain for the event.
3. Invite church members to sign up for specific duties—from preachers to greeters to Bible workers to parking lot attendants. Make sure there is something for everyone. TMI should be all-inclusive.
4. Divide the members into teams—one team per preaching site.
5. Invite other churches in your city or conference to join
in blanketing your area with their own simultaneous events.
6. Plan community outreach programs leading up to the meetings—free health classes, music lessons, cooking classes. Be creative—anything that interests the community will be well received.
7. Advertise. Post the free classes in local papers, online, and on grocery store bulletin boards.
8. Pray, pray, pray. The prayer for souls is always answered. It is not a “Thy will be done,” but a “we claim your promise” prayer.
9. Be enthusiastic. Enthusiasm is contagious. If there is one thing the team experienced in Rwanda, it was joyous, welcoming enthusiasm. It felt like all of Rwanda was on fire for Jesus. Never underestimate the power of Spirit-filled enthusiasm.
10. Rejoice in what God will do. He gave each participant
in Rwanda a testimony to share, and He will do the
same for you.
Duane McKey is a special assistant to the GC President. He is also
the Sabbath School and Personal Ministries director for the General
Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.