Field School of Evangelism: Student Perspective

By:
Michael Cerda, senior theology major

                        Every year Southwestern Adventist University Theology Department in conjunction with the Southwestern Union offer Junior and Senior Theology students the opportunity to preach an evangelistic series somewhere within the five-state district of the Southwestern Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.  This past summer the Field School of Evangelism program was hosted by the Arkansas-Louisiana Conference.  The primary focus of our territory was the Baton Rouge/New Orleans area.  There were six students including myself that had the privilege of being instructed in that program.  We learned what it takes to develop and run an evangelistic campaign through comradery and hard work.

                        From day one I began to learn that there is a difference between teamwork and comradery.  People on a team can hate each other and work together towards an end goal but comrades have built relationships with each other through experiences and now have a single purpose for success.  Through the duration of our program we experienced struggles such as a fifteen-minute detour to an empty parking lot for lunch, difficulties with schedules and personalities, and experiences in the field that required much prayer.  Through it all, we worked together. In the end, Field School has given me comrades for life and a fresh perspective on evangelism.

                        Evangelism is hard work!  I learned that this might be one of the reasons some churches don’t do more of it.  We worked under evangelist Elder Richard Halverson and University Theology professor Dr. Bill Kilgore who gave us classroom instruction and in-field training.  We knocked on doors, prayed with people, and gave Biblical answers to questions, all the while preparing for the two-week evangelistic series that we would be preaching at the end of the program.  I learned that, in addition to prayer and consecration to God, it takes intentional effort and hard work to be successful in evangelism.  Consequently, the whole experience worked to build our characters.

                        Field School of Evangelism was a success.  I was able to experience many people giving their lives to Christ and church members rededicating themselves to the work of reaching souls.  I have gained comrades for life that have shared in my experiences.  Finally, I better understand the value of hard work in evangelism efforts that will prepare us of the second coming of Christ. I believe that the Field School of Evangelism is an opportunity all theology students need to experience.