On mission Christians
awaken to their personal responsibility to share
Christ. That upward awakening leads to inward
adjustments where they discover how God has uniquely
created them to share Christ. When Christians discover their role, it
activates them to share Christ. As a result, they
become passionate advocates who want to help others
find their styles for personal evangelism and who long to see on mission
Christians and churches who are sharing Christ.
Survey says: ask the right questions
How do you find out what would bring unchurched people to church? Ask them. For
Captain Dave Mikkelson and a group of chaplains at Fort Bragg, North Carolina,
the idea was as natural as jumping out of an airplane.
PHOTO COURTESY OF Captain David mikkelson
When six young chaplains were assigned to Fort Bragg two years ago, they
wondered why chapel services werent reaching more young soldiers, the majority
of the installations population.
We said, What if we come up with a way to make young people comfortable and
make them want to come to chapel? recalled Mikkel-son, an 82nd Airborne
chaplain. Chaplain David Shoffner took the lead. In 90 days the team surveyed
500 soldiers and asked them things like If you came to church, what kinds of
things would interest you? The survey found most soldiers were struggling with,
and wanted help with, relationships. The research launched the All-American
Servicechapel with a twistusing a contemporary worship style, another desire
the survey revealed.
Since our first service on Septem-ber 15, 1996, weve had more than 1,000
soldiers come through who indicated they were first-time visitors and our
attendance is up on average. We specifically target the unchurched. We have a
core group who invite their unchurched friends and help bring them to Christ,
Before David and Lavon Watson began attending chapel services they werent
attending church and their marriage was struggling. A chaplain invited them to
a service, but like a lot of folks, they didnt respond on the first invite.
After continued invitations, they finally came. Their reaction was like that of
many soldiersWow! This is not the church my parents took me to when I was
David and Lavon became Christians and have been very involved in the
service. Lavon is our childrens church coordinator. David brings his grill for
cookouts. Now they are inviting their friends to chapel, says Mikkelson.
PHOTO COURTESY OF 82ND AIRBORNE
We work with cultural Christians. If you ask them, they say, Of course Im a
Christian. Some of them are Christians who are coming back to the Lord. Some
never were born again. Then theres an entire group who has never heard the
gospel. Theyve never opened a Bible, and theyve never stepped inside a church.
Their whole concept of God is from Hollywood and from TV. We work with both
groups simultaneously, Mikkelson said.
The All-American Service has spread to eight forts and bases across the
country and has even been exported to South Korea. Mikkelson is excited by the
success of the team ministry approach at the core of the All-American Service.
The team approach assigns a chaplain to each area of ministry. One serves as
the primary preacher, another as an
administrative pastor and others take the lead in different ministry areas.
The team functions much like a church staff.
Gods working here. Hes inspiring people and they are shifting and changing
in response to His work. Theres a fervor to reach unchurched soldiers and an
increased evangelistic fervor thats personally satisfying to me.
Mikkelson can be reached at 910-432-5010 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact NAMB chaplaincy at 770-410-6365 or email@example.com.
Its a joy, not a burdenSharing Christ comes easily
for professional Christians, right? Not always, claims church planter/pastor
Roger Ferrell, who freely admits his own struggles with personal
For a long time, Id just go and do my ministry, he says. It was a lifestyle
and I loved it, but when I was off-duty, I was off-duty.
Id go to the gas station and see the attendant and wouldnt think anything
about sharing Christ with him. Id go to a restaurant, the waitress would come,
wed pay our bill and I wouldnt think anything about sharing Christ with that
Thats a huge confession on my part. I did not have a heart for evangelism
the whole time I was in youth ministry and music ministry. Now God has opened
my eyes and heart to see that, everywhere I go, I have opportunities to share
the gospel. Its not my job to convince people to believe it, just to share it.
I dont see now how I could ever go back. Its not a burden. Its a joy.
PHOTO BY NAJLAH FEANNY
Ferrell, pastor of South Coast Community Church in Portland, Maine, since
February 1998, credits his newfound zeal to a recent study of the Great
Making disciples was Jesus command. Go is not the command. Its
as you are going, make disciples. Sometimes we focus so much on the go
part that we go and do all kinds of activities, he says.
Its important, he believes, that people learn to see evangelism as a natural
outgrowth of who they are in Christ, not as a program, presentation or method
to be learned.
The most important thing, he says, is that you be yourself and be genuinely
interested in the other person. If I really care about someone, Im going to
share Christ with that person in a way thats real and genuine, and in a way
that my love for him or her is evident. All the methods and formulas in the
world cant take the place of that genuine concern. If you dont feel that
concern, then you dont do it. Its as simple as that.
Ferrell finds that its easier to grow to care about people as more than just
potential converts by getting to know themreally getting to know them.
For him, relational evangelism is the key to reaching people.
Most of the people here are not real comfortable with direct evangelism,
coming up to people on the street and asking people if they know Jesus Christ,
he says. But they are willing to say to a friend, family member or neighbor,
Hey, were doing this great thing at our church. Do you want to come? And that
can lead to conversations about Christ.
That means were only going to reach as many people as we know, so our people
have to get out and meet people. And then as new people come in, we find that
the more unchurched they are, the more unchurched people they know. And they
make very effective evangelists to those people.
Breaking the alabaster jarMeeting God and getting
involved in His plan for evangelism is a lot like breaking an alabaster jar, at
least for Susan Field.
For me, it was more a call than an awakening, says Field of her work with
students at New York Citys Columbia University and New York University. When a
chaplain at the school retired and a missionary moved on, students needed a
leader. They would call the church and I realized they were like sheep without
a shepherd. I really prayed about helping in a volunteer role, and then
thefull-time position at Columbia just came up.
So, I took a day to pray. In my Bible, the story I picked up that day was
about the woman with the vial of perfume and how she broke it to bathe Jesus
feet. And God said to me through that passage, Whats your alabaster jar? Is it
that your time is your own? That you answer to yourself for your days schedule?
Youre not breaking your alabaster jar. And I could see that I needed to help
these students who wouldnt have anybody otherwise.
Her jar broken, she now traverses Manhattan frequently to help Christian
students plug in to existing ministries and help non-Christian students find
Field has discovered that many of the students who have not had the luxury
of growing up in a church-centered environment are more open to the basic
claims of Christ and to the truth of the Bible.
This places Field in the position of being one of the first people to
actually take the time to explain Christ to them. Its a position she welcomes
enthusiastically. But it goes beyond simply telling them about Christ.
Admitting that todays college campuses can be places that belittle students
for simple faith in God and the Bible, Field says her job is to provide them
with the support to become and be Christian in the intellectual setting that so
often dismisses faith as myth.
By giving students a haven where belief in Christ is welcomed and honored,
she offers a nurturing shoulder that also helps some students take the initial
step of accepting Christ.
I think the students here feel what appears to be a conflict between
thinking and faith, she says, and they need someone to tell them that you can
be intelligent and totally faithful. Thats not a conflict. My ministrys a lot
about telling them its okay to be or become a Christian.
Church planting no hang-up for HobafcoviciA knock on
the door. A familiar dialect. The promise of food with the savory tastes of
home. It was too much for Mark Hobafcovici to refuse his first day in a new
land and the encounter affected the way he would someday lead people to
It was February 15, 1981, a Sunday morning and my first day in Australia. A
member of the Romanian Baptist Church in Melbourne knocked on my door. He asked
if I wanted to go to church. He said there would be food, and I hadnt had a
Romanian meal in months, Hobafcovici said.
PHOTO BY MIKE DUBOSE
Just 20 years old, Hobafcovici was a political refugee. Seeking freedom he
had only read about, he found a greater freedom than he dreamed of when he
became a Christian in the Romanian church in Melbourne.
As he grew closer to God and spent time in Bible study, a desire to reach
others like himself grew inside Hobafcovici.
I have a burden for the wanderers, like me. People of different countries,
different tongues. The Lord gave me that passion it comes from His heart.
It began when I was born again. Jesus loves all people, no matter what
language they speak. Getting into the Word, drawing closer in prayer, you can
begin to hear the Lords heartbeat for people.
Hobafcovici was drawn to Nashville from Australia in 1993 to work as a
mission pastor. He and his wife worked first with other Romanians.
They started by using a phone book to look up and call every name that
resembled a possible Romanian spelling.
Four years later they launched a Romanian language church with 43 members.
He now works with 24 language churches in Nashville representing at least
17 different nationalities and one deaf congregation as language mission
director for the Nashville Baptist Association.
The method of personal outreach that drew Hobafcovici became his model. He
believes one of the best ways to plant a church is one-on-one.
It may be the hardest way, but it puts you in touch with peoples needs. It
is time-consuming calling all the people, but it builds relationships and
By calling first and following up with face-to-face meetings, Hobafcovici
introduced people to Jesus. Hes helped one language group after another
replicate the same success by starting with a phone book to plant a church.
Im investing myself in these people. After a call I visit and get to know
them. You have to build trust. I always tell them up front what Im doing and
who I am. Many are skeptical at first, but they get to know you and your
genuineness, Hobafcovici said.
Evangelism is primary, but flexibility is a must, Hobaf-covici says.
You cant go in with a preconceived idea. You have to learn as much as
possible about the culture and then pray, asking Gods wisdom.
You have to find new ways and methods to help train people and start
churches. Its rewarding and I wouldnt do anything else. Im sold.
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC