Sherry was, in many ways, a typical middle-aged unchurched woman. She believed in God but was not sure exactly what it was she believed about God. She had a husband and children and grandchildren, bills that needed to be paid, illnesses that occasionally occurred, a car that was not entirely reliable. She was just your average middle-class American making her way through life.
Then she met Mary. Mary had many of the same challenges and experiences as Sherry, but she was an active Christian. Mary had recently been hired by the same company that employed Sherry. They got to talking. Day after day Sherry shared her thoughts and concerns. Knowing that Mary attended church, many of Sherry’s questions were about God and the Bible. Mary knew some of the answers but far from all. Still, she bravely continued the conversations with her new friend.
Then two planes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City. America was under attack. People were afraid. Mary’s church decided to hold a prayer service to comfort people and ask for God’s help and protection. Mary asked Sherry if she would like to attend with her. Sherry quickly accepted. And she never left. She was so comforted by God’s promises that night that she began attending worship on Sunday mornings and, eventually, brought her many questions to the Bible information class offered by the church. Soon she was a confirmed member of Mary’s congregation.
This is what personal witnessing looks like. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every WELS member was doing what Mary did—thinking about and active in reaching out to the unchurched people God has brought into their lives? The truth is, the more witnesses we have, the more souls we will reach.
But how do we help this happen? How can congregations build a culture of outreach in which evangelism is something every member recognizes as their privilege and responsibility—a culture in which evangelism isn’t something only the pastor or the evangelism committee does but something every member does?
Everyone Outreach is a new program designed to do precisely this. Designed by the WELS Commission on Evangelism with help from Mr. Kurt Nitz (a WELS member who works professionally as a culture-shaping consultant), Everyone Outreach uses a weekend workshop and follow-up resources to build an outreach culture in participating congregations.
Please keep this new effort in your prayers that the Lord might bless it and many more souls might come to know him. In addition to your prayers, your financial support would be most welcome. Your support will allow us to train more workshop facilitators and send them to interested congregations. Each workshop costs between $600-$2,000, depending on travel costs for facilitators.
We know there are many more Sherrys out there. We pray that, with your support of the Everyone Outreach program, WELS will have many more Marys reaching out with the life-giving message of Jesus.
Thank you for your prayers and any help you can provide!
Rev. Eric Roecker
WELS Director for the Commission on Evangelism
P.S. You can learn more about Everyone Outreach at everyoneoutreach.com.