Newsjournal of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan | March 2023 | Volume 67, Number 3
INTENTIONAL EVANGELISM WORKS
Mike Durbin - State Director of Evangelism
God blessed Shar and me with the friendship of a young woman named Eliene when we served as missionaries in Brazil. She was a seminary student in a class I taught. Every student needed a mentor and to be connected to a place of service in a local church. Eliene asked us to serve as her mentors and to let her help at the church we were planting. She thought we were helping her, but she was really a Godsend to us. God used her in many ways, especially working with teens. She was engaged to a wonderful follower of Christ named Adilson. He was a gifted musician and we quickly enlisted him as our worship leader.
While we were in Michigan on furlough, Adilson and Eliene got married and moved to a brand new neighborhood with hundreds and hundreds of new homes and thousands of people. There wasn't a church of any kind in this new neighborhood. Upon our return to Brazil, they asked us to help them plant a church in their neighborhood. They offered their home (actually it was their front lawn) to get started.
It was the dry season so we didn't have to worry about rain for a few months. Adilson rigged up a string of 100 watt construction lights and placed them overhead so we could see during the service at night. We bought bricks and set wood planks on top of them so people would have a place to sit. We praised God in the open air and preached the Gospel. People came and a core group developed.
We purchased land (with a really small house) on the main street between where they lived and another housing development that was being built. It was time to launch the church. We went door to door and invited the community to attend an outdoor showing of the Jesus film in our new location. Shar sewed sheets together to make a massive screen. It turned out to be a great idea because people could see the movie on both sides of the sheets. Every bus that entered the neighborhood had to pass in front of the screen coming and going. A large crowd gathered on the site and many watched from their homes.
Adilson lead our worship team. (Photo courtesy Mike Durbin)
A man and his daughter got off the bus. When the little girl saw the film, she asked her daddy if they could watch. Her father, Montanha, was a Buddhist. He told her that they couldn't stay, but he brought his family to a later showing of the film. After the movie, I offered to lead a Bible study in the Gospel of John for anyone who was interested. I would give them the Bible we studied. Montanha always wanted a Bible. He told me that he didn't want anything to do with my faith, but he wanted me to teach him the Bible. For weeks, I went to his home and we studied the Bible. Eventually, he started coming to our worship services. Eventually, Montanha gave his life to Christ and I had the joy of baptizing him. He connected with Adilson and became a part of our praise team and a great witness for the Lord.
It was a big evangelistic event that attracted Montanha. The big screen, the powerful movie about Jesus, and the large crowd of people got his attention. It gave us the opportunity to meet him and develop a relationship with him that allowed us to speak the Word of God into his life.
Here in Michigan we are entering a season when many of our churches will conduct large evangelistic events. Such events are incredible opportunities to meet people who need Jesus and share the Gospel with them. The BSCM wants to partner with you to reach your community and one way we can help is through Evangelism Grants. These grants are available to help churches to cover the cost of hosting an evangelism event. To apply for a grant, go to www.bscm.org and download the Evangelism Grant Form. We are looking to help churches with evangelism strategies that include prayer, witness training, and follow up plans. You can also contact me directly if you have questions or want to discuss your ideas.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Durbin is the State Evangelism Director for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Before joining the state convention staff, Mike served as Church Planting Catalyst and Director of Missions in Metro Detroit since 2007. He also has served as a pastor and bi-vocational pastor in Michigan, as well as International Missionary to Brazil.
Montanha finds faith after seeing Jesus film with his daughter.(Photo courtesy Mike Durbin)