I have been involved in many evangelistic efforts, and every time I see Jesus work mightily. The fleshly side, however, creeps in at the beginning of every one, and I worry that something will go wrong or no one will show up. I am ashamed to admit it, and by God’s grace I will overcome it someday.
On March 30, as we approached 6:45 pm when the live stream for Prophecy Countdown by Tom Michalski, our conference evangelist, was to start, I got those jitters again. Our Antigo church is a smaller congregation, and despite good local effort, I knew the statistics. Even with church members passionately inviting family, friends, co-workers, even enemies, I wondered if we would be disappointed with the turnout. Our conference was trying something new, live-streaming a prophecy seminar from the Waukesha church to be screened at churches all over the state. We did not even have internet at the Antigo church before this! Our new young elder, Justin Hickman, brought this church into the 21st century. Would the technology work? Would people from this small community come? Of course, if even one person came, it would still be a success in the eyes of God, for each person is of infinite value; but I did not want those in Antigo to become discouraged. It had been years since we had done public evangelism at that church, and a dismal turnout may discourage them from trying ever again. I had seen it before in other small congregations.
But when I pulled into the parking lot, it was already starting to fill up! The greeters and those at the registration table wore big smiles. When I stood up front for the welcome and prayer, I could only remember the pews being fuller for funerals. Once again, God worked miracles with higher turnout than expected.
In the second weekend of Prophecy Countdown, the numbers dropped a bit (as is expected), yet the Antigo church maintained a 75% retention rate. People were learning more about the Bible and about Jesus! Last year Pastor Tom conducted two in-person seminars at my other two churches, so I was curious how they would compare; so far this live-stream event has been just as much a success. If you wondered if live-streaming a prophecy seminar would work, yes it does! Tom is a dynamic, engaging presenter and his style has worked well over the screen. The crowd laughs and answers him even though we know he cannot hear us. Pastor Scott Manly, from the Rice Lake District, organized a team of pastors, including me ,to spend many hours updating Tom’s slides: the slides look slick but still maintain the life-transforming pillars of our faith. The tireless effort by Pastor Myoung Kwon and the A/V team at Waukesha has been paying off. I imagine there have been mini-crises behind the scenes, attempts the devil has made to thwart the work, but we could not tell from our end of the broadcast.
This is the largest evangelistic campaign we Seventh-day Adventists have ever attempted in our state. And it is still not too late to join! While it is being screened at churches, you can also watch from home and invite people you want to introduce to Bible prophecy. You can find the recordings at this YouTube channel: youtube.com/channel/UCSvmOHLNz4HAhSpgip9sLsA . Please pray for those working hard to follow-up with interests from Prophecy Countdown.
Justin Spady, Wausau Church District Pastor