“From my heart, evangelism has to start with the confidence in believing and knowing that the Gospel is truth and it is good for people,” said Curtis Hill, senior pastor of Ogletown Baptist Church in Newark, Del. “We have to believe the Gospel is really good news. We don’t have to apologize over Scripture or what the Gospel represents.”
Hill’s church is within proximity of the University of Delaware in Newark. In this university setting, it is culturally thought there isn’t one truth that is true for everybody.
“We have to have a different voice. There is truth and truth is in Jesus Christ,” Hill insisted. “That confidence is appealing among the many voices in culture that alternatively say what is good for you is not good for me.”
Accordingly, the church publicly prays for courage and clarity: courage to not wimp out on conversations about spiritual things, and clarity to make the message clear and understood.
God is answering the prayers. Around 60-70 students come to the church, of which Blake Hardcastle, a collegiate minister for the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, is a member. Hardcastle ministers to many of the students through the school’s Baptist Student Ministry (BSM).
“They hear the truth at the BSM, and then they come and see the church community and the multi-generational community, which impacts them,” Hill said.
To model evangelism, Hill addresses non-believers every Sunday in the course of his sermons. “I know you may have questions,” he will say, hoping his listeners “will witness those who have firm-on Christian faith address non-believers in a caring and respectful way.”
But it isn’t just the spoken word that is making a difference.
At Ogletown, several families open their homes to internationals, who have had no exposure to the Gospel. These guests are invited to an evangelistic Bible study that explores who Jesus is and what the Gospel is.
“Using gifts of hospitality and clear teachings, these members are very patiently unpacking the truth for the internationals,” Hill said, noting its success. A son of a Communist leader recently “claimed allegiance to Christ in the baptistery!”
He added, “When we go through the basic Bible truths, we trust the Spirit and the Word will do the work. And it is. I’m very encouraged by this.”