Mike Napier, personal evangelism specialist with the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, (BGCO) gets a sparkle in his eye whenever he talks about Evangelism Explosion (EE), a 54-year-old gospel-sharing tool that many may have thought had become passé over the years.
Of course, anyone who meets Napier will attest to the fact that he gets excited about sharing his faith, no matter the setting, but he and EE trainer Lester Vogler have taken the comprehensive evangelism strategy developed by D. James Kennedy in 1962 to new heights over the last two years in Oklahoma.
The pair are following 60 churches or ministries which have had representatives either attend, implement or express interest in EE training. Their efforts pinnacled from a launch held at Moore, Regency Park last February, where believers from five Southern Baptist churches attended an Everyday Evangelism Launch (EV2), the first recommended step in the EE training process. Vogler said a church will host what is called an EV2 Launch, “where we involve pastors and his leaders for two, very intensive days of training over 22 hours.” That’s what Regency Park hosted.
In addition to Regency Park, churches represented included Kingfisher, Oak Street; Norman, New Generation and Oklahoma City, Faith Crossing, Shields Boulevard and Olivet. All five of these have implemented training this year. Other churches that have begun or reinstated EE in the past two years include Lawton, Cameron; Oklahoma City Rancho Village, Southern Temple, and Western Ave. Oklahoma City, Southern Hills hosted an Everyday Evangelism Launch Sept. 15-16. Ten representatives from four churches and three BGCO ministries attended this training. Churches represented in addition to Southern Hills were Perkins, Immanuel; Midwest City, Eastwood; and Oklahoma City, Rancho Village and Beverly Hills.
Additionally, Newcastle, First is implementing EE’s Hope For Kids!, and Norman, Alameda and Norman, Hilltop have attended workshops hosted by other churches.
“In the last two years, 17 Southern Baptist churches in Oklahoma have implemented training or participated in workshops,” Napier said. “Oklahoma City, Southern Hills was on board prior to that.”
In addition, EE is active at two Oklahoma correctional institutions—Jess Dunn and William S. Keyes—and a Prison EE Launch was held Sept. 26 at the Baptist Building.
“The training program we primarily use is called Everyday Evangelism, and it has three parts,” Vogler explained. “Part one is the Share Your Faith Workshop, a stand-alone, an interactive, multi-media, one-day workshop designed to help people understand the Gospel and the gospel presentation. Easy-to-learn, Fun-to-Share and Almost-Impossible-to-Forget!
“Part two is the first of two seven-week semesters to train a select group who come out of the Share Your Faith Workshop and gather in a session called Explaining the Gospel.
“Part three is another seven-week semester, which includes about 20 percent of those who attended the first seven-week Explaining the Gospel session, and which is called Mentoring for Multiplication.
“It is in the clinic setting that those leaders are trained to implement the three parts of the Everyday Evangelism program in their local church. It’s very similar to the original Evangelism Explosion Clinics they used to have that lasted five days, but this is just two to two-and-a-half days.”
Lawton, Cameron hosts an EV2 Launch Oct. 13-14.
“And, we are in the process of setting up five others across the state next year, sometime between February and April,” Napier said.
Vogler said the goal of the Everyday Evangelism program essentially is, “To equip the attendees in how to explain and share the Gospel as a way of life.”
Napier said an EE representative will be leading a breakout at the State Evangelism Conference Jan. 30-31 at Del City, First Southern.
“Directors of Missions are excited about EE,” Napier said. ”Pastors are excited about it, and want to implement it; they are hungry for evangelism.”
“A lot of pastors I talk to and individuals who are familiar with EE are very excited that we have a training program now that asks for a seven-week commitment for each phase, rather than a 13- or 14-week commitment, which was the old classic training program,” Vogler added. “It’s a lot easier on people, who have a hard time making that longer commitment of time in today’s culture.
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