KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Nearly 100 Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Spurgeon College students, faculty and staff partnered with local area churches on Sept. 10 to proclaim the gospel during an annual outreach event known as the "One Great Day of Sharing."
Canvassing the greater Kansas City metro area, teams of four walked door to door sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. As a result, 30 gospel presentations were delivered, and 33 people were encouraged by the groups praying with them. Another 98 people chose not to engage in any discussion about prayer or the gospel.
"The One Great Day of Sharing is one of my favorite events each year," said MBTS President Jason Allen. "It truly gives us the opportunity to put into practice the meaning of our vision, 'For the Church.'
"Our students, faculty, and staff obey Jesus' command to proclaim His gospel to the lost, and they also represent local church bodies in neighborhoods across the city," he said. "This effort encourages those local churches and enables follow-up activities. Ultimately, our prayer is that souls will come to a saving knowledge of our Lord, Jesus."
Prior to hitting the streets, the group prayed together and received evangelism training as well as instruction in methods of follow-up for the days after the outreach.
According to event coordinator Tom Johnston, Midwestern Seminary's professor of evangelism, the goals for the day included assisting local church bodies in furthering their ministries within nearby neighborhoods, carrying out the Great Commission by sharing the gospel, and training attendees to teach others within their local congregations how to share the gospel and make disciples.
Johnston said the One Great Day of Sharing is a "win-win" for both Midwestern Seminary and the local churches.
"On one hand, the students see a local church at work in its area, which is a truly valuable experience," he said. "On the other hand, materials from the local church anchor the gospel to the locality. Active and passive follow-up can take place through the local church, and the local church benefits from persons reaching into the community on its behalf."
"Additionally," he noted, "there are tremendous results in the neighborhood of the church, including lost people hearing the gospel – some of whom are challenged to repent and believe."
Johnston noted that "unchurched Christians hear of a local church in their area; hurting people are prayed for; and students have the opportunity to proclaim the name of Jesus from their lips!"
From the local church vantage point, one of the pastors involved found the Day of Sharing to be deeply encouraging and beneficial to his ministry.
Darin Smith, senior pastor of Tower View Baptist Church in northeast Kansas City, Mo., said his church has partnered with Midwestern Seminary since 2015 through the school's Midwestern evangelism teams, but events like the Day of Sharing are instrumental in numerous ways.
"The help from MBTS students -- some of whom are our own members and some who come now and then – allows us to cover more area, follow up more specifically, and encourage our church by example," Smith said. "We so appreciate each student and faculty member who came out!
"More specifically," Smith said, "after the One Great Day of Sharing event, we have folks who want to know more about Christ and those who want to come to church on Sunday. Could we reach these same people ourselves? Yes, but not at the pace we did with OGDS."
Such a partnership, Smith explained, "is a shot of adrenaline for [pastors] and a great reminder that we are not alone. We appreciate the fellowship and encouragement."
Other area churches participating with Midwestern Seminary during the event included Bethany Baptist Church, Central Baptist Church, Claycomo Baptist Church, Faith Community Church, Fellowship KC, First Baptist Church of Kansas City, Kan., New Kingdom of Faith and Restoration Church, and Northland Baptist Church.
Following the three-hour time of outreach, the groups reassembled at the Midwestern Seminary campus to debrief and fellowship over pizza and enjoy a concert by Benjamin Thomas Music.
The One Great Day of Sharing outreach has been held at Midwestern Seminary since 2005. Over the years, the event has been called Midwestern Evangelism Team Kick-Off Day, One Great Week of Sharing, EngageKC, and LightUpKC.
Written by Baptist Press, the official news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.