Ministry introduces students to evangelism

Students from John Brown University will dedicate a few of their Saturdays during the semester to street evangelism as part of E-van, a new CAUSE ministry.

On set dates throughout the semester, students in E-van will drive to the University of Arkansas and spend five hours talking with people around the college campus in Fayetteville. Freshman Josiah Wadsack, the ministry leader, said recently he counted about 40 interested students.

“One of the ways to get the Gospel slammed into our heads is to share it with others,” Wadsack said.

Wadsack said he wanted the ministry to excite the students of John Brown University about the Gospel by allowing them to share their faith with others.

“I’d love for the students at JBU to have a passion for evangelism,” Wadsack said. “I want students to know how important it is for students to actually go and share the Gospel and to actually allow themselves to be changed by that.”

He described evangelism as Christians partnering with God to lovingly draw unbelievers into Christ’s kingdom, and he credits the Lord for any blessings E-van shall produce.

“It’s God working through E-van,” Wadsack said. “We can do the cute little fun things and go there, but really what it takes is for God to draw people.”

Wadsack said this fact gives Christians the freedom and assurance to cast aside any fears of failure hindering them from taking part in evangelism.

“We could totally mess it up, but God could still use that,” Wadsack said. “God uses us in our faults. Christ’s power is perfected in our weakness.”

E-van directors invited every University student with a desire to serve to take part in the ministry. They claimed that God does not require expert communicators to change lives.

“People don’t need to have any skills,” Wadsack said. “They can be like the most anti-social, awkward, nerdy person ever. Jesus uses pretty messed up people. I believe He can use messed up people to share the Gospel too.”

The leaders intentionally designed the ministry to ease fears new evangelists may grapple with. The ministry partnered with a Christian ministry called Cru at the University of Arkansas. E-van will immerse students in training sessions focused on how to share the gospel before sending them out to evangelize. Confident evangelists will pair up with less experienced evangelists in order to alleviate as much anxiety as possible.

Passion group leader and sophomore Melissa Lloyd described E-van as a wonderful opportunity for passion groups to get off campus and actively serve the Lord.

“I think it’s a great growing experience,” Lloyd said. “It will be a great practice for people at JBU. There may be people here in our passion groups who may have never even immersed themselves and evangelized before, and it’s something we all should experience as Christians.”

Lloyd said although the University defines itself as a Christian university, the school as a whole does little to reach out to non-Christians. She sees E-van as a means of changing that reputation.

“This would be doing something about it,” Lloyd said. “This would be acting. This is what JBU needs to do.”

Frank Huebert, director of discipleship, said the new ministry aligned well with the deep evangelical history of the school. While he did not have any specific details, he said he would be surprised if this was the first ministry dedicated to street evangelism.

“In recent years, however, there has been stronger involvement and initiation coming in the form of service and awareness ministries,” Huebert said. “There has not been as strong a participation in some of the more overtly evangelistic types of ministries.”

But both Wadsack and Huebert agreed that it is important for students to get off campus and talk to others about their faith.

“As we engage others with our faith, we are pushed, challenged and ultimately formed in our own faith commitments,” Huebert said. “Our engagement in evangelism compels us to see the world through God’s eyes, with compassion and hope.”

Wadsack stressed that God calls every Christian to reach out to unbelievers.
“God says, ‘I’m glad you’re my son; now, go tell others,’” Wadsack said. “I hope that becomes a part of the campus culture and a part of every JBU student’s life.”