Evangelism remains a major focus in the Carolina Conference — it is our mission and commission to reach lost souls for Christ. In the last six years, 800 series of reaping meetings were held throughout the Carolinas. An inspired team of evangelists (full-time and visiting, pastoral and laypersons, department directors and administrators) spread out across the 146 counties of the Carolinas to find the sheep who are “not of this fold” as well as those who may have wandered.
In 2016, Doug Batchelor came to Charlotte to follow up his “The Rest of Your Life” magazine with a series called “The Last Day of Prophecy” in Ovens Auditorium. Over 1,600 attended. In the same year, Revelation Made Simple was held in over a hundred churches throughout the Conference.
Field Schools of Evangelism with ministerial students and teachers from Southern Adventist University took place across northeast South Carolina (2016, with Ralph Ringer), and in the Tri-City area (2021, with Roger Hernandez). In these meetings, students received instruction, attended the primary event, then each conducted a series in a church nearby.
Perhaps our largest evangelistic endeavor ever in the Carolinas was Revelation Speaks Peace, a partnership with Voice of Prophecy. Thirteen churches across the Raleigh-Durham area joined forces for a massive effort on the North Carolina State Fairgrounds. A tent as large as a football field was erected and a plywood floor was installed. Despite winds, rain and chilling cold, hundreds of people came to listen to the Word of God presented by Shawn Boonstra.
John Boston, associate director of North American Division Evangelism Institute (NADEI), held a series in Spartanburg in 2021, seeking broad community and civic engagement.
To rejoice in God’s accomplishments, to evangelize more effectively, and to be challenged in the work, the Evangelism Department organized the first Evangelism Impact at Myrtle Beach in January 2016. Over 400 showed up, and each year that number grows, with well over 1,000 attendees in 2020. Leslie Louis stated, “This is the REAL Camp Meeting.” While COVID-19 prevented in-person meetings in 2021 and 2022, sessions of Evangelism Impact were conducted virtually.
The Carolina Evangelism Fund remains the funding source for outreach support. At the 2014 Lake Junaluska Camp Meeting, José Rojas issued the challenge, “You ought to ask for a million dollars!” In preceding years, $200,000 was considered a great offering for Camp Meeting. However, accepting that as a word from the Lord, we have asked, and He has given … through you. For the last five years (2017-2021), an average of $1,000,587 has been received each year through offerings, gifts, and planned giving bequests. These financial gifts have enabled meetings to be held across the Carolinas. As a result, 4,378 individuals have joined the Advent movement in the preceding six years either through baptism or profession of faith.
But we are not done! Evangelist Steve Vail — along with evangelism veterans John Earnhardt, Dale Pollett, and Ralph Ringer — will be holding reaping meetings. Pastors, volunteer lay pastors, department directors, Conference administration, and members young and old will be proclaiming the Good News.
Beginning in October 2022, Harvest Impact will be held in Raleigh every two years, and in Summerville, S.C., during odd-numbered years, with the same mission of Evangelism Impact. To prepare for this year’s Harvest Impact, John Boston will work with many Raleigh-area churches in a unique evangelism strategy.
The Franklin Church has laid plans to conduct a Good Neighbor Clinic this fall, providing medical and dental services to many uninsured citizens of Macon County. Other churches are planning meetings with experimental methods, others with tried-and-true ones. Using Paul’s philosophy, we try any respectable means to evangelize, “so that by all possible means [we] might save some” 1 Corinthians 9:22.
The call that God has given us to evangelize and make disciples can only take place effectively in healthy churches. We desire for the coming years that the churches of Carolina purpose to be healthy, disciple-making centers for Christ.
Cooperate with the Holy Spirit in establishing meaningful relationships with those attracted to Christ. We are called to provide opportunities for others to become acquainted with His Word, and then challenge them to become His disciples.
Provide training and inspire leadership. We have pastoral and lay leaders that train the congregation to identify needs in our churches and our communities, clarify goals, gather the necessary resources and implement effective action. They follow Ellen White’s counsel in The Ministry of Healing, page 143, “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me.’”
Nurture the members through connective worship, interesting Bible study, supportive friendships, and opportunities for significant service.
Reach the community for Christ. Healthy churches discover the kinds of people who live in their area and strive to understand their needs so they can provide outreach programs and activities designed to meet those needs and create a strong public awareness of the church.
Our prayer is that as we look to the new quinquennium, all our churches may be healthy, disciple-making centers, and that your connection to Jesus will be a compelling reason for someone to connect with Him and His church.