Southern Seminary students impact Louisville through Reaching Out

Communications Staff — October 27, 2005

One hundred Southern Baptist Theological Seminary students teamed with six local churches and the Baptist Student Union International ministry at the University of Louisville to share the Gospel throughout the city during the annual Reaching Out event, Oct. 22.

Tom B., assistant to the director of the Great Commission Center at Southern, said four people prayed to receive Christ during the evangelistic event and another 40 showed significant interest in local churches.

“Cold turkey evangelism is difficult, and our students stepped up to the plate and did it,” he said. “The students on our team were polite, but firm in asking people about their spiritual condition. When they had opportunities they engaged people with questions, and that was exciting to see. If students will engage in this type of ministry on a regular basis, then evangelism will become a lifestyle and not just a program—and that is our goal.”

Students and members of five of the churches witnessed door-to-door and did survey work, also distributing the Jesus film and church literature. These churches included First Gethsemane Baptist, LaGrange Baptist and a local Korean Church in Louisville, as well as Harrison Hills Baptist and Jesus Es El Senor (Jesus is Lord) Hispanic Baptist in southern Indiana.

Mark McClellan, professor of theology and missions at Boyce College also serves as pastor of Jesus is Lord and said the students were a great help to the outreach of the new church plant.

“The students witnessed door-to-door and in the streets of a Hispanic neighborhood and distributed tracts and flyers in apartment complexes and places of business,” McClellan said. “They exhibited a wonderful evangelistic spirit.”

Crossroads to the Nations Baptist Church combined with BSU International at U of L to put together a soccer tournament followed by a lunch fellowship. A team of Southern students and three teams from U of L, one Korean, one Chinese and one of mixed international students, participated in the event. Each team played three games and the luncheon offered a chance for the Southern students to make contacts with non-believers.

Job Goshi, in his second year at Southern, organized the seminary soccer team.

“I think soccer is a great game and one that internationals enjoy playing,” he said. “The primary thing we tried to do was build relationships and a few of us were able to share the Gospel. It was a great opportunity.”

In addition to being a great ministry to the community of Louisville, Tom B. sees two main benefits of the Reaching Out program.

“First, it provides our students with a practical, hands-on evangelistic opportunity,” he said. “Reaching Out allows students to get out and put to practice the skills that they have learned here at the seminary. The secondary benefit is that it is a blessing to the local churches.”

Tom B. explained that each church determines individually what the students will do.

“I want us to go and provide physical resources for what the church needs at that time, and I leave what we are going to do in their hands,” he said. “That demonstrates that we are flexible and able to fit into their ministry purposes, vision and plan.”

This year, door-to-door witnessing and surveying were the focus of the Reaching Out event, along with sports evangelism through the soccer tournament. In past years, students have also raked leaves, prayer-walked and distributed Vacation Bible School promotional material.

This was the sixth Reaching Out event organized by Southern. It began in the spring of 2003 and occurs once each spring and fall. The next Reaching Out is Saturday, March 18, 2006.

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