Ludington Evangelism Richly Blessed

By Judy Ringstaff -  August 1, 2023


Ludington Evangelism Richly Blessed

At the core of the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist church is the Great Commission, which instructs members to “make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:16-20). This imperative, making disciples and “baptizing them,” is the Michigan Conference’s goal. We treasure our truths and believe they hold hope—hope that so many desperately need.

The Michigan Conference dedicates every year to evangelism, and this year is no different. Evangelism-based initiatives have already been taking place throughout the state. A Michigan-wide, public campaign will be held at the end of September. It is also up to individual churches to determine optimal times to hold their series.

The Ludington church selected April 16 – May 13, 2023. Spanning four weeks, the meetings were held six times the first week, then four times a week for the remaining time. Elijah Ringstaff, pastor of the Ludington and Shelby churches, spoke for all 19 meetings, including a follow-up vespers after the series concluded.

Ludington, located on the north shore of Lake Michigan, is a small town. Members were encouraged to see excellent community engagement.  During the four weeks, nine non-members and their families attended the evangelistic series. Four of the guests attended opening night and every meeting after for a week and a half before becoming sick with pneumonia. Four other guests began attending in the middle of the series, but they also became sick. Finally, one more woman began attending near the close of the series, “for the last four or five meetings,” says Ringstaff, and she has “been studying the Bible and is preparing to be baptized.” The other eight have also kept in touch with Ludington church members and are also participating in Bible studies. Despite the unusual circumstances that threatened to tear them away, the Lord grasped these families firmly, ensuring they would find the truth for which they were searching.

Several attendees are coming to church as often as possible, and are resolving work issues, so they can attend more frequently, Ringstaff says. They are also coming to prayer meetings.

When it comes to the kingdom of God, every soul touched is an enormous victory. Ludington church understands the significance of every soul, and their planning for the series began months in advance of the meetings, according to Ringstaff. An evangelistic series isn’t just about the sermons. There’s music to choose, children’s programs to plan, and health nuggets to be selected. And, of course, no series should be planned without careful and fervent prayer.

In addition, Ringstaff credits the conference-wide Great Controversy mission trip as being a catalyst for turning the community’s mind towards Christ. The mission trip was right before the series began, and church members passed out 1,200 Great Controversy books, with a flyer tucked into each book, Ringstaff says. He believes that not only did the books pull in attendees for this series, but those left at homes will provide “curiosity” for future evangelistic events—a pull to learn more.

When it comes to any sort of evangelism, much can be said about Total Member Involvement (TMI). When every member is engaged, says Ringstaff, “you have, obviously, more people involved, which means less dependency on pastoral leadership.” This means that “each member becomes a leader in the church, and more things are done.” Ringstaff further explains that if he had been the only one to plan the series, it would have been much different. There would have been no greeters, and music would have been thrown together at the last minute.

The pastor would have had to do the health talk as well, which doesn’t allow for guests to connect with church members. “Active members,” Ringstaff says, “means more connections.” Thankfully, Ludington members are active. The music was carefully selected to match the evening’s topic, and two or three sentences were shared to get visitor’s minds thinking about the connection. The greeter team was phenomenal, welcoming guests with a smile and a warm handshake. Five members split the health nuggets, so guests were given the opportunity to see church members in active, passionate service.

Every night, half an hour before the meeting began, several members gathered in the church and prayed for the meeting, specifically for the guests who would attend. “Half of our members, if not more,” Ringstaff says, “were active during the series.” He believes “the series revived not only the community, but also the church.”

He’s right! Evangelism reminds us, as we share our faith with those searching, just how important our faith is, and just how important it is to share that hope with others. Please keep churches across Michigan in your prayers as many will be engaged more directly in public evangelism efforts. Pray, too, for churches that have already completed meetings—that the spark of evangelism will not end with the series.