With praise on our lips, believers proclaim what Christ has already done for them. Praise and Proclaim Ministries partners with congregations to help members conquer the natural fears of evangelism and discover that sharing the gospel is far more about God than it is about us. This message resonated with the members from Good Shepherd’s Lutheran Church in West Allis, WI who participated in the outreach initiative on August 3-4.
West Allis is an older suburb of Milwaukee and located west of the downtown area. With a membership of around 700 souls, Good Shepherd’s Lutheran Church is adjacent to the I-41 freeway. When driving by the Greenfield exit, you can easily spot the sanctuary and school.
The congregation and school are tucked away in the Rose Hill neighborhood of West Allis. Most of the homes were built in the 1940’s and are nicely kept. The state fairgrounds are located across the freeway and only a few miles away from the congregation. The opening of the Wisconsin State Fair coincided with the outreach initiative and we wondered how the timing might affect participation and opportunities to proclaim the gospel.
Praise and Proclaim came to partner with Good Shepherd’s Lutheran to provide evangelism training for members so they may learn how to confidently and comfortably give reasons for the hope that they have in Christ. In conjunction with the training, the initiative includes a well-organized experience for members to put their training into action and go door-to-door to proclaim the gospel.
Faithful members from Good Shepherd’s gathered together for the training on Friday evening. On the following morning, members and guests arrived to put their training into action. We are thankful that the Lord opened doors and provided opportunities to plant seeds of the gospel even though there were families not at home due to the State Fair.
Each two-person team received a wonderful opportunity to proclaim the gospel to waiting ears who desired to learn more about Jesus. They were open to discover more about the Bible and what Good Shepherd’s Lutheran teaches. Some of the comments included:
“I have been meaning to go to church. It’s nice to meet a person from a church right in my neighborhood.”
“I am a catholic, but I haven’t been to church in a long time. I would like to come.”
“Thank you for coming to my door. It’s nice to see a face from the church.”
Those who participated in the outreach initiative and verbally proclaim the gospel in the surrounding neighborhood made two discoveries.
First, God keeps his promises. Personal evangelism is scary and intimidating. When we take our eyes off ourselves and fix them upon Jesus, believers conquer fears and discover that they can fulfill the great commission.
At the end of the day, we gave thanks to the Lord for providing us the opportunity to verbally proclaim the gospel to eighty-one people on Saturday.
Second, we discovered that the soil surrounding Good Shepherd’s Lutheran had already been tilled by the faithfulness of the congregation. The people we met at the door commented that they read the mailings they have received over the years from Good Shepherd’s Lutheran Church and School. They knew about the annual rummage sale and the Vacation Bible School. This familiarity made proclaiming the gospel easier. The people we met at the door were willing and ready for personal evangelism!
We also discovered that inviting people in the neighborhood to come to a community event at the church provides a greater impact to have a positive visit at a person’s door.
Good’s Shepherd’s Lutheran is hosting a Neighborhood Safety Night. They have invited members of the West Allis Police Department to come and provide tips to keep families and property safe along with reports on recent crime trends in the neighborhood. People expressed genuine interest and appreciation for this event and enabled us to further connect with them at the door and more easily transition to sharing a short gospel message.
We were thankful for the several visitors who came for the training and participated with members to go out door-to-door to proclaim the gospel. This included a family from St. John’s Lutheran in Wauwatosa, a pastor who drove all the way from Hart, MI, and the new director for WELS Mission Journeys.
It is a privilege and a joy to partner with congregations and provide training to verbally proclaim the gospel to lost souls. May the Lord bless the ongoing gospel ministry at Good Shepherd’s Lutheran Church and School while they continue to put their training into action in the months ahead.