Small rural church leads 108 to Christ in one year posted by jwatson on Nov 28, 2018
On the outside, Harmony Community Church, is a little wood-frame Methodist church off of Highway 74 in Peachland, North Carolina. Miles away from a shopping mall, the church is surrounded by impoverished neighborhoods and trailer parks. Yet, every Monday night, more than a dozen people gather to visit people in the community and share the Gospel. Between September 2017, and the end of August, they have introduced 108 people to Jesus Christ.
“We don’t go out to try to get more folks for Harmony Community Church,” said Pastor Rocky Carpenter. “We go out to get more people into the Kingdom of God.”
In fact, most people they lead to Jesus Christ end up going to other churches, but Carpenter says that the Lord has blessed them anyway.
When Carpenter first took over the pastorate in 1997, only four people attended Harmony Community Church. The church grew steadily until 2013, but something was missing.
“God quickened me about doing evangelism,” said Carpenter. He asked a friend what to do and learned about EE. “Immediately, I got on the Internet and tried to find out how to get trained.” The closest event at that time was in Conyers, Georgia.
During the training, Carpenter joined a team that went into the projects to share the Gospel. That first night, three people prayed to receive eternal life. “It’s a lot of pressure. I’ve been a pastor for 15 years. I’m supposed to know this stuff. But to see someone saved for the first time, that’s priceless!”
When he returned, Carpenter began training his congregation how to share their faith. “We had push back. People were terrified. Every time I go out, I’m nervous. But the Lord will make those butterflies fly in formation.”
Since 2013, Harmony Community Church has hosted a Share Your Faith workshop every fall after their annual revival and an Everyday Evangelism launch in the spring. Carpenter believes that the key to making evangelism work is training and retraining.
As a result, the church has grown to 250 people. Carpenter said: “As we were obedient to God, He sent people we never even talked to, to our church.”
In the past five years, the congregation has totally changed. “They are not afraid anymore; they now know how to answer,” said Carpenter. “It has opened the eyes of our congregants to the issues that our community is facing. They keep trying to think about new ways to reach out and share with them.”
Every year, Harmony Community Church hosts several events throughout the year to connect with the community – a fall festival, Easter egg hunt at a local park, and an Easter celebration. They gather names and visit people throughout the year to share the Gospel. Sometimes, they visit Office Max, the local hospital, or nearby Wingate College to begin Gospel conversations. After every outing, the team meets back at the church to share stories and talk about what they can do differently next time.
But they want to do more for the community. According to Carpenter, the church hopes to set up a mobile kitchen that they can take into to the trailer parks to provide food and school supplies. The praise team is planning to join them to provide music.
“I had convinced myself that I was doing what I was supposed to be doing – preaching on Sundays, teaching Bible studies, visiting people,” said Carpenter. “But EE totally changed everything, and we will be forever grateful.”