FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — An initiative to baptize “100 Souls in 100 Days” has spawned an atmosphere of evangelism at Blackshear Place Baptist Church that has become the Atlanta-area congregation’s new culture.
Lives have been changed, including a couple who had been addicted to methamphetamine and were searching for hope. Stumbling upon the sprawling church in Flowery Branch, Ga., they heard the gospel message and prayed to receive Christ.
“God radically changed their lives,” Jason Nave, a missions pastor at Blackshear Place, told Baptist Press. “Only God could do something like that. It was really cool to watch them be transformed and to continue to see them grow.”
And there was an elderly couple who had been married 50 years. They came forward one Sunday to rededicate their lives, and after talking with a deacon they realized they didn’t have a salvation story. They had attended church over the years but had never received Christ as Savior.
“They both came to faith in Christ and were baptized that night,” Nave said. “I had the opportunity to baptize both of them. There are so many stories like that.”
The stories began accumulating in 2006 when the church’s pastor, Jeff Crook, realized that in the midst of $17 million construction project, the congregation needed an emphasis that would keep them from turning inward while their building was in disarray.
Crook launched 100 Souls in 100 Days that summer, challenging the congregation to share the gospel with people they encountered outside the church, motivated by a goal to see at least 100 people commit to follow Jesus in believer’s baptism. On Day 100, the church baptized 126 people.
Blackshear Place, with 2,800 in average attendance on Sundays, repeated the evangelism emphasis last year and saw 191 people baptized within 100 days. The church celebrated the culmination by baptizing the remaining new believers in nearby Lake Lanier during an evening worship service, just like they did after the end of the first emphasis two years earlier.
“The way that we set this thing up and the reason we say anybody can do this is because whether your goal is 100 or 10 in 100 days, the main thing that we focused on is equipping our people to share their faith and to create an atmosphere of evangelism in the church,” Nave said. “It’s kind of an electrifying thing when people see other people coming to Christ.”
During the 100-day emphasis, the church scheduled one night each month between July and September when its members gathered for a meal and then heard a short presentation on how to witness using the EvangeCube, the Romans Road or other evangelistic tool. Then people divided into teams and went out into their rapidly growing community. The church also began offering in-depth classes on evangelism for those who wanted to learn more.
“It just creates an atmosphere where people are doing what Jesus said to do by fulfilling the Great Commission,” Nave said. “That brings a blessing to your life when you’re obedient in that regard. It seems like our people just really caught on fire and just began to tell people and began to bring people.”