Church Finds a Voice for the Gospel posted by jwatson on Jan 24, 2019
Church Finds a Voice for the Gospel
Pastor Jim wanted to do more than share the Gospel from the pulpit on Sunday mornings, but he didn’t believe people outside of the church wanted to hear about God. Last summer, he attended an evangelism clinic at University Presbyterian Church in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and discovered he was wrong.
Before he left to fly back home, Jim visited the college campus next to the church and decided to put the EE Gospel presentation he had learned into practice. The woman he approached listened intently, then prayed to receive Jesus Christ. She told Jim, “I’ve been praying for someone to come and tell me how I can know God.”
According to Classic EE teacher and leader, Patty Hughs, the experience changes so much more than the people who give their lives to Jesus Christ.
“Believers in the church can find their voice for the Gospel,” said Hughs. “It’s not that they don’t want to share, but they are now sure how to share. In EE, they are given a tool that makes it clear.”
When it was founded in 1959, University Presbyterian Church had a focus on missions. Located next to New Mexico State University, the church reached out to college students. Members hosted students for meals and tried to engage them in the church.
When Rev. Randy Martin accepted the pastoral role in the 1982, he introduced the EE training. Hughs was the first woman formally trained in EE in the church.
When she first heard the EE Gospel presentation, she said, “I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard…it helped me see evangelism as a lifestyle that I would never walk away from.”
Since then, EE has shaped evangelism within the congregation. The church began sending several short-term mission teams throughout the years. Many of the participants had been trained in EE before traveling and saw lives changed on the field. Others who saw EE in action, signed up when they returned.
“EE fueled short-term missions and in turn, short-term missions fueled EE,” said Hughs. “When we open our mouths and the Holy Spirit uses us, something changes. We begin to own the Great Commission.”
Nine years ago, Hughs took over leadership of EE at University Presbyterian Church and has seen many lives changed when people in the church take the Gospel out into their community.
“For some people, a person knocking on their door prepared to share the Gospel with them is an answered prayer,” she said. “They are troubled about their sin but don’t know what to do with it.”
For Hughs, the extended On-The-Job training (OJT) offered in Classic EE helps believers overcome their fear and step out in faith.
“It just takes time for people to practice the presentation and feel like they can say something,” said Hughs. “When they open their mouth, God uses it and something changes. That’s when they find their voice. Their fear goes away, and their confidence grows.”
But Hughs wants to take EE even further – to other churches in their community. By building a network of churches across Las Cruces, Hughs hopes that more believers will “find their voice” and become witnesses in their community for Jesus Christ. And it is already impacting other churches. Last summer, people from various church backgrounds and cities attended the EE clinic at University Presbyterian Church, a glimpse of what the future could hold. “If we are not speaking the Gospel, people will not hear it,” said Hughs. “The Gospel tears down our own natural assumptions and builds something else up. We abandon our own savior, so we can see the Savior in the person of Christ. I don’t think people ever guess the Gospel. They have to be told.”