D’mitri de Castro
Take me to the water to be baptized,” belted the vocalist as more than 50 individuals took part in a baptism. The candidates walked confidently, indicating a resolve to follow Jesus and bury their pain at what the evangelist called “a pain burying service.”
The three-week System for Survival Community Initiative by Ron C. Smith, D.Min., Ph.D., evangelist and president of Southern Union Conference, took place April 2-23, 2022, at Altamonte Springs Church. A team of Bible workers, musicians, food-service professionals, and members of the local church led and participated in the nightly sessions.
Public Evangelism Still Works!
“There is a need for evangelism in the church,” said Dion Henry, D.Min., senior pastor of Altamonte Springs Church. Through the System for Survival Community Initiative, Altamonte Springs Church partnered with a well-developed program that brought human resources to the local church and provided a powerful way to reach the community.
A Church Revived
Several follow-up initiatives now support and nurture all members:
- Mentoring program pairs new members with existing church members to foster and build relationships.
- Partnerships with local agencies such as SALT continue to help address homelessness and food insufficiency.
- Active food distribution program serves more than 400 people weekly.
- Power to Empower, a social service ministry, connects members with local agencies and other resources to meet their needs.
Making a Commitment to Public Evangelism
“Collaboration with local agencies and denominational leaders will provide human and financial resources,” said Henry. “Being intentional about public evangelism will yield results.”
Jesus said, “‘My Father is always working, and so am I,’” John 5:17 NLT. By the end of the three-week initiative, the local church and community witnessed concrete, remarkable evidence that God is still working through the church. There were two weddings and three baby dedications, and 110 individuals chose to make a public commitment to Jesus through baptism and profession of faith. Even more gained a renewed understanding of God’s vast, all-encompassing love that changes hearts, heals circumstances, and transforms lives.
Florida | January 2023