Church Strives to engage in weekly Gospel Conversations posted by Evangelism Explosion on Mar 14, 2019
Since its founding, Brookstone Church in Asheville, North Carolina, has had a vision for evangelism. But today, they are putting feet to that vision. Their goal? Train 1,000 adults and teenagers to engage in a spiritual conversation at least once each week.
“We believe that God has called us to share the Gospel with every man, woman, and child in our community,” says Pastor Jim Dykes. According to Dykes, if all 1,000 commit to having a Gospel conversation each week, they could share the Gospel with 50,000 people every year. With that perspective, the city of Asheville, with a population of around 90,000, can be reached with the Gospel.
But the journey to this point was not easy. Brookstone Church had offered several different evangelism-training techniques. None effectively helped them get started. They even tried EE’s Everyday Evangelism curriculum for a few years as part of their Wednesday night educational program, but they omitted a key component: on-the-job training (OJT). The curriculum alone did not work.
In 2013, the church decided on a bold move: to teach EE’s Everyday Evangelism as it was intended – with OJT. It made all the difference.
“OJT moved us out of the intellectual realm and into the practical,” says Dykes. “Instead of teaching them a method, we began doing what we were teaching them. They got out and saw the presentation in action as it was meant to be.”
The congregation did not hesitate. After EE sessions, participants went out in to the community with trained presenters and watched them present the Gospel Hand Outline to people they met. It worked.
“OJT gave us the ability to come back to the church with hands-on experience,” says Dykes. “But also, it gave us the opportunity on Sundays to tell stories about those conversions. Those stories primed the pump to get people into the class, but also it raised the culture of sharing throughout the congregation.”
People did get excited. The stories from on-the-job training encouraged even more to sign up for the class. Brookstone offers four Everyday Evangelism classes every year with between 60 and 70 people in each class. To date, 500 people in the congregation have been trained to share their faith. Out of that number, about 10% have taken additional steps to become trainers.
“We have absolutely seen a culture shift in our church,” says Dykes. “People who learn to share their faith live with a spirit of the mission. They are always on board. They get what we are doing. That culture has begun to permeate the church.”
One member, Jimmy Peters, is definitely on board. He shares the Gospel with people wherever he goes – at Wal-Mart, nursing homes, the golf course – and every week, he leads someone to God. “There are a hundred different ways to share the Gospel,” says Dykes. “The beauty of EE is that it is a simple, reproducible, historically-proven method of equipping people to do what every pastor wants them to do.”