Bob* showed up at the Sweet Home, Ore. evangelistic meetings ready for some big life changes. In fact, on opening night, he approached the pastor and asked to be baptized. The pastor’s wise reply was to “get together and talk about [it]. In the meantime, keep coming to the seminar!” Bob attended the rest of the meetings, and at the end of the series, he and his family were baptized.
At that same series, Jerry* had lots of questions. He and his wife were retirees who provided childcare in their home for the children of an unchurched family who happened to know the Adventist pastor. Jerry and his wife attended the seminar, quickly became friends with the pastor, and were baptized at the end of the series.
Bob and Jerry were eager to be involved in church life. They encouraging others to attend church, socials, and any other events the church had happening. However, neither of them currently attends the Sweet Home church. Bob just moved to another town because he felt called to a tent-making ministry. He spends more time sharing his Adventist faith with customers than he does building their homes! Jerry was impressed to take his ministry on the road. Over the past years, he has worked as a host at several campsites in order to have the opportunity to share his faith with campers all over the country.
What these brief sketches don’t tell you is that this evangelistic seminar also changed the community in ways that were perhaps less sensational, but every bit as important. A marriage was saved; the children won’t grow up in a broken home. People were able to break drug, alcohol, and smoking habits. Long-sought physical, spiritual, and emotional healing were experienced by multiple people.
Evangelism changes lives. It changes churches. And it changes communities—all for the better. This isn’t just about trying to convert Methodists, Baptists, or Episcopalians into Adventists. It’s actually about reaching out to people who are lost. It’s about helping people—one individual, one family, one community at a time.
Your planned support of evangelism through the 2012 Gladstone Camp Meeting offering will change lives and communities. At camp meeting, you will have the opportunity to help more Oregon Conference churches hold evangelistic meetings similar to the one in Sweet Home. Our goal this year for this offering is $100,000. Please pray about these needs and follow the Holy Spirit’s leading.
*names have been changed