Church Grows in Confidence and Faith after Learning EE posted by Evangelism Explosion on Jun 16, 2021
After leading a missionary Baptist church for several years, Pastor Carl Coleman made a decision. In 1996, he felt God was calling the church to do something different: shift the focus away from denominational teaching and focus simply on reaching the lost. The church changed its name, dropping the denominational title, and became First True Love World Outreach Ministries.
At the time, church attendance averaged about 75 people. Over the next 20 years, the church began reaching out to their small, rural African American community in Louisiana. They passed out flyers and visited the local jail. The church grew to 300-400 people, but Pastor Coleman wanted to be more effective.
“Most individuals desire to share their faith with others, but they lack the training tools,” said Pastor Coleman. “We did the best we could with what we had, but nothing really structured.”
In 2018, he began talking to Wallace Lewis, a new member of the congregation, about EE. By the end of the year, they were ready to start their first Share Your Faith workshop. Unsure of whether the congregation would spend an entire Saturday learning how to share the Gospel, they broke the workshop into small one-hour sessions on Sunday mornings. But people came out and wanted more. In 2019, they offered two-hour sessions on Saturday mornings and then hosted an all-day workshop.
“They were really excited about it, because it was something new and it was easy and comfortable,” said Pastor Coleman. The more the congregation learned, the more confident they became. “It gave the congregation a mindset of faith – a new attitude to know that this was something they could do.”
For Pastor Coleman, the training was an eye-opener. He incorporated what he was learning into Sunday services. He posted the five-finger path on the screen at the end of every service while he extended an invitation to accept Christ.
“Each Sunday morning, the congregation is seeing it displayed on the monitor. They are hearing me repeat it over and over again. The whole purpose behind that is to help them understand that our responsibility is make sure that we are offering Jesus Christ to individuals.”
Pastor Coleman also began looking at his counseling sessions as opportunities to share the Gospel. He quickly discovered that many people who sought counseling didn’t have a personal relationship with Christ. But they left the counseling sessions saved and able to face their situations.
“As spiritual leaders, we don’t want to assume that people in our congregation are saved,” said Pastor Coleman. “EE has given me this comfortable ability to shift from what the person actually thinks they need to discover that their need is spiritual.”
After one year, the pandemic brought training to a halt in 2020. Many churches in the rural community struggled to open back up when regulations eased. But when First True Love World Outreach Ministries re-opened its doors, hundreds flooded back in to the church.
“Because of EE, people’s level of faith has expanded. Because they have shared the Gospel, they now understand the Gospel. They can have faith to go to God’s house on Sunday morning without fear.”
Even though attendance decreased some, Pastor Coleman sees the church continue to grow. “Even in the pandemic, I always see new faces, new families, new couples coming in and visiting us. That lets me know that the members are still sharing their faith.”
“Our ultimate goal is to bring the church together. We’re excited to know that we can be this foundational church to share with other churches what we have learned through EE.”