After cultivating interest with ongoing Bible studies, it is time to reap a HARVEST of spiritual decisions that culminates in the decision to be baptized. Full-grown wheat does not bless anyone unless someone intentionally reaps the harvest. In the same way, we are counseled to make personal and public appeals to those studying Bible truth, urging them to follow Christ and the light that has been revealed to them:
“When persons who are under conviction are not brought to make a decision at the earliest period possible, there is danger that the conviction will gradually wear away” (Evangelism, p. 229).
Local Church Goal – Regular Public Evangelism
One of the best ways for churches to consistently gain decisions for Christ is to conduct Regular Public Evangelism. Regular means more than holding a series every few years. It means publicly proclaiming the three angels’ messages, accompanied by personal ministry, through a full evangelistic series EVERY YEAR.
Here are 7 Keys to conducting Regular Public Evangelism:
- SCHEDULE at least one full evangelistic series each year in a neutral or church location that can accommodate a crowd.
- APPOINT one or two speakers, a meeting coordinator, and other necessary team members.
- INVOLVE every member in some way—prayer and personal invitations, distribution of flyers, visitation, children’s program, registration, greeting, music, etc.
- ADVERTISE and INVITE in every way possible (personal invitations, mass mailings, radio, Internet and social media, etc.).
- COMBINE a personal soul-winning plan with public preaching to include Bible studies, resources, letters, visitation, baptismal classes, appeals, and a follow-up plan for each interest.
- PROVIDE leadership support—promotion, financial support, and participation.
- PRAY for laborers and for the salvation of souls through public evangelistic series.
“The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Luke 10:2).
“All over the world men and women are looking wistfully to heaven. Prayers and tears and inquiries go up from souls longing for light, for grace, for the Holy Spirit. Many are on the verge of the kingdom, waiting only to be gathered in.” (Acts of the Apostles, p. 109)
“If there is not a decided application of the truth to their hearts, if words are not spoken at the right moment, calling for decision from the weight of evidence already presented, the convicted ones pass on without identifying themselves with Christ, the golden opportunity passes, and they have not yielded, and they go farther and farther away from the truth, farther away from Jesus and never take their stand on the Lord’s side” (Evangelism, p. 283).
“The test of discipleship is not brought to bear as closely as it should be upon those who present themselves for baptism. It should be understood whether they are simply taking the name of Seventh-day Adventists, or whether they are taking their stand on the Lord’s side, to come out from the world and be separate, and touch not the unclean thing. Before baptism, there should be a thorough inquiry as to the experience of the candidates. Let this inquiry be made, not in a cold and distant way, but kindly, tenderly, pointing the new converts to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. Bring the requirements of the gospel to bear upon the candidates for baptism” (Evangelism, p. 311).
“Too much hasty work is done in adding names to the church roll. Serious defects are seen in the characters of some who join the church. Those who admit them say, ‘We will first get them into the church, and then reform them.’ But this is a mistake. The very first work to be done is the work of reform. Pray with them, talk with them, but do not allow them to unite with God’s people in church relationship until they give decided evidence that the Spirit of God is working on their hearts (The Review and Herald, May 21, 1901).
This booklet describes how to plan, conduct, and follow up public evangelistic meetings.
Harvesting Decisions for Christ, Part 1
When someone is growing in their understanding of God’s Word, what do I do next?
Harvesting Decisions for Christ, Part 2
What can a local church do to consistently gain decisions for Christ from the community?