|YFJ Birmingham, UK - 2010|
This report is to show the progress of the Youth for Jesus project which began February 2010 till the end of November 2010, in Birmingham (UK). The team included: 5 Bible Workers (one of which was the Coordinator) who worked with the Yardley Seventh day Adventist church and also with the Castle Vale SDA church.
The day to day work at first consisted of door to door outreach using community survey’s to open up spiritual conversation through such topics as health, family, world issues etc. The number of contacts gradually increased and we gained solid Bible study contacts that remained consistent from week to week. Another way in which we gained contacts was in door to door leaflet distribution to which we dedicated once a week in order to cover a large area. Through this, we were able to give away Final Event DVDs, Great Controversy & Desire of Ages Books, and also Reasons of the Heart series DVD’s. Over the duration of the 10 months we posted over 20,000 flyers, gaining a number of contacts through this medium. (A number of the youth and older members of the church got involved in the day to day outreach as they became trained and gained greater knowledge).
As the day to day work continued, in-home studies increased as well as gaining contacts who requested studies to be dropped off each week.
As well as outreach we also worked within the church. At first we focused on the children and the teenagers building not only a rapport and trust but also helping them to understand important aspects of God’s Word, enabling them to be able to share what they know with their friends. The young are those who will soon be leading the church and it was deemed of great importance for them to be grounded in their understanding of the Word of God.
It was of importance for us to also build rapport with the church members before beginning any training, and therefore we integrated within the church by getting involved in already established ministries such as:
LIGHT (Labourers In the Gospel of Higher Training) was begun as a church training program to equip the members and to light the fire within them to win souls to Christ. This training was not just for those at the resident church but extended to other surrounding churches also in order to help the membership become a “LIGHT” within their community. The training involved the teaching of set studies covering topics ranging from “Is the Bible trustworthy?” to the “2300 day prophecy” (and much more) to be marked in their Bible but also included practical training. Other aspects of the training involved:
Practical training also extended into AYS services on a frequent basis using the time to organise church outreach. The use of a community needs survey was useful in helping the church better understand how it could be more effective in meeting the needs of the community, and also helped to increase the profile of the church.
AdvANCE (Adventist Apologetics Networking Conference on Evangelism- 2nd-4th April) was a North England Conference Youth Department event involving training the youth in how to be more effective in evangelism. During the weekend we organised an afternoon of door to door outreach using surveys to gain interest into spiritual matters. With those that went out we gained 40 contacts. Of those 14 requested for Bible studies, 14 had an interest (including health, family, prophesy seminars) to follow up, and 12 had questions they wanted to be answered (potential Bible study contacts).
Day in the Park was an event put on by the Yardley church. We talked to people within the community who were interested in who we were as SDA’s. The event was based at a nearby park and had a number of stalls and marquees set up run by each department of the church (including a mini health expo). This was a fantastic event and with being in a mainly Muslim area it opened up the knowledge of our church in their community.
Evangelistic Seminars began in the month of October and were run by the Yardley church, the PEACE centre of evangelism and ourselves. The pre-work in gaining interest for the series was not just in personal invitations to our contacts but also in the distribution of 30,000 flyers, to the surrounding areas of both Yardley and Castle Vale church.
The series was for 4 weeks, of which 24 presentations were given by Pastor Adam Ramdin using the Prophecies of Hope material.
From the first weekend we had an average 92 people attend of which an average of 35 were non Adventists. The series was well attended ranging from between 25-40 non Adventist coming each night! In total we had over 125 non-Adventist people attend at least one seminar!
The church involvement and effort was fantastic and made the running of the campaign a smooth one.
The Follow Up:
As the evangelistic series drew to a close, so did our time in Birmingham. It was therefore important that the transition of the contacts from ourselves to the church family be a smooth one.
Many of the church members came with us to meet the contacts on studies and visits, to which they would ultimately take over. Some transitions were easier than others; however, 2 of the Bible Workers will be staying on at the church and this will aid in the transitions.
A ‘New Member Committee’ has also been put in place with the understanding that we would have people within the church as well as out of the church needing special support. There would be 2 groups of people, those who are newly baptised and those who are new regular visitors (not yet baptised). An interest coordinator was therefore put forward by the church to make sure no-one would slip through the net.
There will be a baptism on the 18th of December of which some of the candidates are those from the campaign. It is hoped that a baptism will be taking place every quarter.
A mini Revelation Seminar series which started in December and will continue until January was also started. These take place on Friday evenings specifically to aid in enabling new members and new regular visitors to continue to develop in their understanding of what was taught during the evangelistic series, and to grow in their relationship with God.
The church as a whole, of which we have spent the last 10 months, has fully supported all that we have put forward in regards to evangelistic effort. Compared to the previous ASI Youth for Jesus project, the extended 4 months have given us a lot more training, building rapport and transition time. This has been a very comprehensive program of which I and the rest of the team are very proud to be part of.
We hope in the future that more projects such as this are organised.
Youth for Jesus Coordinator