Harvest Fellowship Baptist Church in DeSoto, Texas, is honest about what it is and what it isn’t. It doesn’t have a lot of resources, but what it does have is a lot of heart.
With about 65 attendees on Sundays, the church shut down its outreach efforts during the pandemic. While it is beginning to transition back to that pre-2020 engagement, Lead Pastor Ed Johnson III has chosen to approach evangelism differently.
“[The church in America] tends to look at outreach from that vantage point of, “What is your church doing collectively to impact the community?” Johnson says. “We have a desire for that as well, but for us, it’s important to remember that missional call is also an individual call. It’s something Jesus commissioned all of us to do.”
Regardless of what the church does (or is unable to do at times) collectively in terms of outreach, individuals are encouraged to engage with the community and share the gospel wherever they find themselves. Johnson has led classes and seminars on doing evangelism, clearly articulating the gospel, and representing Jesus to help equip church members.
Once a month for about an hour, church members head out to busy, high-traffic areas like shopping centers to share the gospel and invite people to church. Another person took this message to heart and started a nonprofit to serve girls and women in terms of self-esteem and life skills. Other members have testified that they’ve shared the gospel with people at their jobs.
“While we definitely want to see our membership grow and baptisms increase, the real fruit in all of this is obedience to Jesus,” Johnson says. “Pastors like me with a congregation the size of mine that’s working and plowing don’t necessarily see the fruit of their outreach or their gospel witness like other churches may see. It can be very discouraging if we’re just looking purely at numbers, right? So the Lord has just done a sanctifying work in my heart to help me understand that that’s not the goal. The goal is to be faithful to him.”