The Heart of Evangelism

By:
Makala Denny, SWAU '15

Theology students from Southwestern Adventist University experienced true mission work at the annual Field School of Evangelism this summer. They applied classroom skills to real-world situations as Bible workers and evangelists. As a result, students not only gained valuable career experience, but also gained a deeper desire to serve God and to trust in His power.

“It’s not my own power, but completely God’s power that matters,” said Eliab Quinones, class of 2019. “In Field School, I realized that I have to be completely reliant on who God is, and the power that He’s willing to give to those willing to be used as a tool.”

The Field School of Evangelism took place in Oklahoma City and neighboring areas. The Field School started with four weeks of Bible work and classroom lectures. Experienced evangelists, such as Mark Finley, and pastors teach the students how to run a successful evangelistic series. This year, Emanuel Baek, Oklahoma Conference evangelist, led out in Bible work visitations and evangelistic meetings.

During the last two weeks of Field School of Evangelism, students hosted an evangelistic series on their own. Each student presented 11 nights of evangelistic meetings, all across Oklahoma. Reynaldo Arias, class of 2018, especially enjoyed preaching about the hope found in prophecy and end time events.

“Visitors come because they need some hope in their life,” says Arias. “I think the church needs to hear more about hope in end-time prophecies, not only the difficulties coming.”

In 2015, the Field School took place in San Antonio. A young man named Cristian Perez was introduced to Southwestern Religion Professor Bill Kilgore and TJ Sands, class of 2016.

Perez was at a crossroads in his life. He wanted to dedicate his entire life to God, but didn’t yet know how. He spoke with Sands about Southwestern, careers and serving God. After that day, he decided to study theology at Southwestern. Today, Sands is a pastor in Oklahoma, where this year’s Field School of Evangelism took place. Perez, class of 2019, led evangelistic meetings at Sands’ church.

“I love God’s word and sharing it with God’s people,” said Perez. “In Field School I’ve learned so much that I didn’t know before: what it takes to be a pastor, a leader, and endure something like this.”

Students must create a portfolio that includes attending church boards, working as assistant pastors, holding evangelistic meetings, etc. This helps with hiring and last year all theology graduates received a position in a church.

“We have a great and good God,” said Jonathan Aguilar, class of 2019. “Being able to take what I learned in Field School and apply it to my ministry is amazing. Building genuine relationships and genuinely caring for people is so important. I will cherish that lesson forever.”