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Ohio, Allegheny West Conferences Collaborate for Evangelism

Story by Visitor Staff
Published 12/10/12


Crystal Dell, from the Ethan Temple in Clayton, Ohio, dedicates her life to Christ at the “Revelation Today” series.

“I believe working with other Seventh-day Adventist pastors regardless of whether they are from the Ohio Conference or Allegheny West Conference (AWC) and completing the mission is what it’s all about. It’s twenty-first century evangelism,” said Corey Rowe, pastor of AWC’s Hillcrest church in Dayton, Ohio, and Berean church in Middletown, Ohio.

That shared belief is what drew the two conferences together, for the first-time, to participate in a yearlong effort to reach Dayton-area residents for Christ. The effort, which also included Kettering Adventist HealthCare, involved mailing 230,000 copies of Steps to Christ to homes in all nine counties in the greater Dayton area, evangelism meetings, Bible studies and multiple other outreach efforts. Those efforts culminated in a 22-night evangelism meeting this fall. At the meeting, John Bradshaw, speaker/director of It Is Written, presented a series called “Revelation Today.” An average of 500 non-members of the Adventist church attended each night.

When Bradshaw made his final appeal, 166 people made decisions for Christ, 86 requested baptism and 2,900 requested Bible studies. This joint effort, which leaders from both conferences call a success, sets the stage for many other such events and endeavors to take place. “We experienced a real revival, and want to thank our colleague Raj Attiken, Ohio Conference president, for partnering with us,” said William Cox, Allegheny West Conference president.

“To be honest this opened my eyes to the possibilities of evangelism,” said Elliot Smith, an associate pastor at Ohio Conference’s Kettering church and coordinator for the outreach. “It has reshaped my understanding of how big God is. I never thought He was small, but it was amazing just to see what happens when multiple churches unite, hold hands and pray together. It just felt like this city is God’s city and He’s doing something that we just became aware of and we are just starting to tap into how we can partner with Him.”

Both conferences are continuing their partnership. They have made contact with some 3,000 people in the area and plan to regularly communicate with them based on what their indicated interests were. Some churches have already started stop smoking clinics, health seminars and smaller evangelism meetings. Elliot says they recently hired Shalena Berglund to serve as a full-time Bible worker to review Bible study contacts and train volunteer from area churches to lead new outreach initiatives.

Next year should be an exciting year for both conferences as they individually and separately continue to do their parts to fulfill the Great Commission. “This is all about building relationships,” Smith said. “One meeting or one event is not evangelism. What we are putting into practice is building relationships with the people God has put us in touch with.”
 


John Bradshaw, speaker/director of It Is Written, speaks during a 22-night evangelism meeting in Dayton, Ohio.

 


Pastor Elliot Smith, associate pastor at the Kettering church, presents the group of 22 students from Ouachita Hills College  (Kansas) who canvassed in the Dayton area for 10 weeks.

 


At the close of a weekend prayer revival meeting at the Kettering church, attendees prepare to prayer walk a section of Dayton.

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