Small Texas Church Encourages Others to Reach Out posted by Evangelism Explosion on Nov 20, 2019
Sitting on a hill, just outside of Dallas, Texas, a small church is encouraging others to take a step of faith. They are joining arms with pastors who have a passion for evangelism and helping them realize that reaching their city for Jesus Christ is not only possible, but also doable.
Two years ago, Church on the Hill averaged a little over 60 people in attendance each Sunday, including children in the nursery. Located on the poorer side of the metropolis in Mesquite, the church didn’t have a lot of money and had never organized a missions trip, but they engaged in activities like Operation Christmas Child every year.
When John Lay became the pastor in 2017, he believed there was potential in the congregation. He had been introduced to Evangelism Explosion as a new believer at the age of 18 and led his girlfriend, now his wife, to faith in Jesus Christ. Since, he had implemented EE in various roles at different churches. He just needed to find a way to integrate it into Church on the Hill.
“If everyone in my flock could learn how to share their faith, study the Bible, and learn how to pray, I figured I was doing my job as a pastor,” said Lay. “I knew that if I wanted to teach people how to share their faith, Evangelism Explosion was the most reproduceable and teachable method.”
He began looking for people who would make good trainers and hand-picked four individuals to go through the Classic EE 13-week course.
“The first night we went out, the team was so scared,” said Lay. “One lady was about to vomit and wouldn’t even go out the door of the church. But that night, people accepted Christ, and they came back so excited.”
The next semester, ten people took the class. Participants learned how to share their faith in grocery stores, parks, laundromats, and at the church’s after-school program at a local elementary school. This fall, the church completed its fourth semester of Classic EE and has trained about one-third of the entire congregation. During that time, 44 people have joined the church and 22 were baptized as new believers. Out of those baptisms, all but six prayed to receive Christ during an EE visit.
But the church’s direction broadened this summer when they decided to host an Equip America for their city. Members began visiting other area churches and inviting them to participate in the one-day evangelism training event that would include community outreach.
According to Lay, the pastors who attended were excited. They realized that evangelism was very doable in their city and that the EE model was reproduceable in their churches. They also learned that they could train someone in their church to take the lead. But they still needed more training on how to make this happen.
Within a few months, Church on the Hill held a follow up event that introduced EE tools to these new churches. Pastor Lay also offered a seminar to the pastors to train them how to use a church management system to help them follow up with the people they meet in the community and begin to disciple them in Bible study and prayer.
The experience was transforming for the congregation at Church on the Hill.
“The first thing I noticed was a desire for our city,” said Lay. “Our church began to see that we could encourage other churches to experience what we were experiencing.”
Church on the Hill traveled to Houston, Texas, to assist with the Equip America in October. The church plans to hold their very first domestic missions trip to assist with the Equip America in Tuscan, Arizona, in January. In addition to training participants, they will partner with a local church for a few days to reach out to the local community in nearby cities. From there, they plan to partner with Equip America events, whenever possible.
“It’s transformed the way our church has looked at missions,” said Lay. “We’re not done until every person knows how to share the Gospel or Jesus returns.”