By Charles W. Short
About 150 Arizona pastors, staff and spouses were introduced to the MY316 evangelism initiative at the 2016 Pastors Summit held at First Baptist Church, Chandler, Jan. 29-30.
More than once, speakers including Randy Adams, executive director of the Northwest Baptist Convention and creator of MY316, reminded participants that the materials — which are all free — are “something that you have already paid for” because of churches giving through the Cooperative Program.
The curriculum has been “Arizonafied,” to borrow a word made up by Eddy Pearson, Arizona Southern Baptist Convention evangelism and discipleship facilitator, and is available without cost to Arizona Southern Baptist churches, either downloaded free or ordered free from http://my316.azsbc.org.
MY316 focuses on two things — the first being something that our broken society longs to hear, and the second being something they already find familiar and comforting.
What the lost long to hear is the personal faith story of someone who has found the answers in Jesus. “Every person that knows Jesus has a compelling story,” Adams said.
What they find familiar and comforting is John 3:16. Conference speaker Randy McWhorter, California Southern Baptist Convention director of evangelism described this verse as, “The greatest verse of salvation because it is so well known already.”
Individual churches can use MY316 in the way they find best, but teaching it to the entire church at once on Sunday mornings is recommended. Adams summarized it as “something that is very simple; even children can do it.”
MY316 also has a strategy to break through the walls of cynicism and disconnectedness that our increasingly isolated society has created. This strategy is represented by the 3, the 1, and the 6 of MY316.
The 3 is three people you know who need Jesus. MY316 begins with a commitment to faithfully pray for three individuals. This is how you start, by asking God to do what only He can do.
The 1 refers to asking God to lead you to a single individual with whom to share the gospel. “So much of the New Testament is devoted to Jesus interacting with individuals,” Adams said. “Jesus loves the individual.”
The 6 is six acts of service that you will invest in hurting people. By letting service find its way out of your fingertips, others will see the love of Christ through you.
AZSBC Executive Director David Johnson summarized the importance of evangelism by saying, “Someday you and I will stand before God and He will ask us this question: ‘What did you do with the field that I gave you?'” MY316 is an effective tool, made freely available to us, so that we will be prepared to answer that question.