by Tom Pfeil
2020 Evangelism Coordinator,
The Boardwalk Chapel, Wildwood, NJ
From the Short-Term Missions website.
It is important to understand that what makes the evangelism joys so sweet is the repetitive rejection that we experience often while witnessing. Often in preaching, I will hear preachers speak of instances when “God moved.” The Bible teaches us that God the Holy Spirit is always proactive when His Word is being proclaimed. When God is moving, how it looks isn’t always pleasant nor to our advantage. In Acts we see Pentecost and Mars Hill, as well as stonings and imprisonment. The call for us to evangelize isn’t so that we may succeed, but that God may succeed, even if it is to our humiliation, harm, or misfortune. Evangelism contains much rejection, much anguish in prayer, and a lot of trial and error. To those who are frustrated in evangelism, remember that God saves, even today. Do not lose heart, faithful servant.
Our story begins with a Boardwalk Chapel Trainer, Dr. Krabbendam, and his training week entitled, “School of Evangelism”. He talked about how he wrestled in prayer with God for months before winning his first convert. Something he had said resonated with my spirit and poured into my prayer life, “Lord, I want to get a second convert, but I can’t get a second until You give me the first; give me a convert LORD!” So, I set aside time that would be used to socialize to pray for the first convert.
One day, while we were open air preaching on the Wildwood Boardwalk, two young boys, about the age of 10, stopped to listen to the open-air preacher. I watched as they stood there and listened and decided to introduce myself. They seemed confused as to what the preacher said, so I pulled them aside and sat down with them. After asking several questions, I wondered if they truly understood what it was to be a believer. They struggled to answer when asked, “What is the Gospel?”
I opened up my Bible to Ezekiel 36 and had one of the young boys read the passage. After he read it, I began to explain the full Gospel: “We each have a wicked and rebellious heart, and we cannot change ourselves. But Jesus died on the cross to renew us, wash away the sins of our past, and take all of God’s anger and hatred toward our sin. Through His resurrection, believers receive a new heart (regeneration), the righteousness of Jesus (justification), and the holiness of Jesus (sanctification).”
We then read from John 3, Romans 1-3, Romans 5, John 14:6, and Ephesians 2:1-10. I asked, “do you want to call on the name of the Lord?” and he responded, “Yes.” I explained the Gospel one more time and we called on the name of the Lord together. Today, I continue to pray for him, thankful he heard the Good News, has the Bible, and that he heard the gospel carefully, prayerfully, and genuinely.
I am very thankful for having attended the training week at the Chapel. I believe the Lord used it to stir a continued passion for evangelism in my heart and life. The training and experiences at the Chapel have radically changed my interactions with unbelievers in my current context. For a long time, I had trouble bridging small talk or discussing current events into an opportunity to share Christ and His Gospel in a way that didn’t seem off topic or pushy. Through the training, relationships, and experiences that presented themselves at the Chapel, the Gospel at times just seems to fall out of my mouth naturally in a conversation with an unbeliever. Understanding the full gospel: regeneration, justification, sanctification as a package deal, creates an opportunity for conversations to be tethered back to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Boardwalk Chapel is a unique and innovative ministry. I would highly recommend a training week to anyone who desires to see soul-stirring revival in your local community. May the Lord raise up faithful servants who have a burden for souls and for the glory of God to be all over the earth.