by Pastor Tyler Long
Evangelism is about connecting, ministering, and meeting the needs of hurting people. Our Port Townsend Pastor, Collette Pekar, experienced a divine appointment when she received a name and phone number of a lady who had been attending Hope Awakens.
Pastor Pekar is trained in grief counseling, and the lady she called had lost her daughter four years to the day of their phone conversation. What is so incredible is this person does not live in our conference, but somehow, her contact information was sent to Pastor Pekar.
A Change of Plans
Heading into the spring of 2020, Washington Conference was planning on holding dozens of evangelistic campaigns throughout our territory.
For more than a year, these participating churches had received training, Bible study request cards, marketing packages, lots of prayers, and optimism was high. We believed that God was going to do something great in the spring of 2020. Then, everything seemed to come to a grinding halt. The evangelism department went from having too much on their schedule to everything being canceled or postponed as a result of COVID-19. Regardless of the virus, sharing Jesus in our community must move forward.
The Washington evangelism team began to pray and ask God for wisdom on how to continue to share the same beautiful gospel message while under a stay at home order. God’s plans are always much more significant than we can ever imagine, and He incredibly answered our prayers. Overnight, Zoom Bible study groups began to spring up. Churches began to live stream services, prayer meetings, Facebook groups, and live streaming evangelistic campaigns.
A New Direction
In April, 10 churches in western Washington churches teamed up with It is Written for an online evangelistic meeting titled Hope Awakens.
Holding this type of large-scale campaign take months, if not years to plan, but with God’s help, this seminar was organized in less than a month, and more than 1,500 people in our territory registered. Pastors quickly organized local Bible Workers to assist in following up with our live-stream seminar attendees. Hundreds of people made decisions for Jesus, and a number of these folks are preparing or have been baptized.
Our team of pastors and Bible workers connected and prayed with people who needed some real spiritual encouragement. During Hope Awakens, we received emails from people who lost their employment, some had lost loved ones to the virus, and others had lost hope.
One emailed prayer request said, “I need your prayers a lot because I am struggling with anxiety, depression, and hopelessness. My heart is very heavy, and I am feeling despair. Please pray for my family and me.”
If you have lost hope, I want to encourage you to remember that God is still in control and we will get through this.
The stay at home order has brought out a creativity for doing evangelism that will help us to continue to advance the gospel in the Pacific Northwest. The churches that participated in Hope Awakens are following up their interests by starting Hope Awakens Community Groups. God is bigger than any virus.