Church Aims to Multiply by Factor of 'One'
By Sheila Allen
March 23, 2022
with a fresh commitment to making disciples, staff at first baptist church in longview, wa, launched an evangelistic effort for the new year focused on “who’s your one?” a visual representation offers members an ongoing opportunity to participate.
“This has been a two year process in how to share Jesus with people,” said FBC senior pastor Cameron Williams. “We launched the 2022 emphasis in January with four different staff members preaching on the topic after putting it on the back burner due to quarantine requirements, which caused us to turn inward for a time.
“We brainstormed how to get our people to turn outward again,” said Williams. “All of 2022 is about “Who’s Your One?”
Aaronn Nelson, connections pastor at First Baptist, first saw an idea at a sister church for engaging their people in a tactile way. He brought an idea to First Baptist staff using ping pong balls in a variety of colors that members could initial for a succession of evangelistic encounters they could employ with friends, family members and co-workers.
Newest staff member Rusty Patton, pastor to children and young families, got to work creating an appealing lighted display made with plexi-glass modeled after one he had observed elsewhere that allows participants to thoughtfully commit to pray for their “one” person with whom they hope to share gospel conversations.
Participants then initial the white ball and drop it in the display along with fellow members. Gold colored balls are available to add for those who’ve had those conversations. Then as some come to faith in Christ, are baptized and becoming growing disciples finding a place of ministry, other hued balls are added to the mix.
Working in tandem with this public emphasis, church leaders offered a four-week intensive study based on the book “Godspace,” by Doug Pollack, a free resource offered by the Northwest Baptist Convention. Churches can request the books, study materials and accompanying training video by emailing NWBC ministry assistant Heather Malm at email@example.com.
“At the beginning of our class, we took a survey that allowed people to see how outwardly focused they were,” said Nelson. “We ran through that course in four weeks so people were able to engage but not be overwhelmed.
“The material covered how to have positive conversations and being aware of others which led to full gospel conversations because they created the ‘God space,’” he noted. “We had 25 adult participants and by the end of the course the same survey saw their outward focus rise by 10 points, which is tremendous growth.”
Meanwhile, Patton offered a study on “I’m a Christian Now” for children, to build an evangelistic fervor among the younger set. Children are joining their parents in praying for their “one” and dropping balls in the display.
“We have seen double the deposit of balls as we progressed through the month and it continues to grow,” stated Williams. “It is a beautiful thing to see. We rethink this on a monthly basis and continue to mention it from the pulpit weekly.”
Stations are displayed in the lobby with evangelistic material available for personal study. Staff members are praying for their own opportunities to share in weekly staff meetings.
“It’s an important element that we are leading in a genuine way,” said Nelson. “This emphasis can offer smooth transitions in conversations without the tremendously unholy pressure to just pray for someone by asking for moments to share.”
Those attending services at First Baptist’s online campus can call in their names for a ball drop.
“Our goal is to help people see we are agents of transformation,” Williams said. “This has been a great way to gauge our compassion and help them be more purposeful. God will then take care of the transformation. This display board is an expression of that compassion and baptisms would be great reflections as well.”
Church members can request a staff member help them personally in their quest to become more evangelistic.
“We have a hard time keeping the resources on hand at the ‘transformation stations’ set up in the lobby,” Williams noted. “Training videos are also available for folks to take home as well. The Lord is really leading us and we just want to be obedient.”