Bethel PRC—Roselle, IL PRC Evangelism Committee Reports
The Bethel PRC Evangelism Committee seeks to equip its members to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you” (I Pet. 3:15) by the following activities:
1. The committee maintains a church webpage which includes information about our beliefs and practices, as well as recent sermons and lectures (bethelprc.org).
2. The committee provides denominational pamphlets for our members and visitors.
3. The committee has written two pamphlets that are directed to the person who has little or no exposure to faith and religion. The topics are “Good Enough for God” and “Even the Youths.”
4. The committee organizes a summer book study for our members. This year the book will be Be Ye Holy by David Engelsma and Herman Hanko.
5. The committee organizes an annual lecture to coincide with Reformation Day. This year the topic will be “Martin Luther.”
—Rev. Dennis Lee
Crete PRC—Crete, IL
As the Evangelism Committee of the Council of Crete Protestant Reformed Church, we are bound by our Constitution. The Preamble states the following:
The Protestant Reformed Church of Crete, Illinois, believes that in obedience to the command of Christ, the King of the Church, to preach the blessed gospel to all creatures, baptizing, and teaching them to observe all things which Christ has commanded, is the explicit duty and sacred privilege of said Church to carry out this calling according to the measure of our God-given ability.
We believe that this mission activity includes the work of bringing the gospel to the unchurched and heathen, as well as the task of evangelism and church reformation.
To carry out this calling, our sub-committees are involved in the following activities.
Doon, Edgerton, Hull, Calvary, Heritage PRCs
Many years ago the churches in Doon, Edgerton, and Hull formed the Reformed Witness Committee (RWC). Its goal was to spread the truth in northwest Iowa, southeast South Dakota, and southwest Minnesota. Members from each of the churches would regularly meet to plan activities to meet this goal. Among the activities in its early history was the production and distribution of pamphlets and holding lectures in the tri-state area. Older members remember the days of stapling, addressing, and mailing the pamphlets to various places not only in the area but to far-flung regions as well. The committee also facilitated the airing of the Reformed Witness Hour on two local radio stations—one in Sioux Center, Iowa, and one in Pipestone, Minnesota. Later, the committee began a Bible study at Dordt College, which is still in existence today. They also sponsored a radio talk show hosted by (then) Rev. R. Dykstra and Mr. Jim Regnerus. This committee also made several attempts to evangelize the Sioux Falls area, which eventually led to the formation of Heritage Protestant Reformed Church.
Approximately nine years ago the churches changed the structure of the evangelism work in the area, giving most of the responsibilities to an evangelism committee (EC) in each of the five churches. The RWC still meets quarterly to carry out work done by the five churches in common. They also hear reports from each local evangelism committee and in that way share ideas and discuss what efforts have worked and what have not. Each congregation’s consistory is responsible for the oversight of their church’s EC, and the RWC reports to each consistory after its meeting.
The RWC still sponsors an annual fall lecture, though an individual EC is responsible for its planning and execution. They also continue to sponsor the two radio programs. A website that the RWC operated lost its host, and so the committee is working on revising the materials so that the local evangelism committees can use them. They also publish a quarterly newsletter in their area churches to show the congregations what has been done by the RWC and the local ECs.
A highlight of the Calvary PRC’s EC is work that they are doing among the Hispanic community in Hull, Iowa. Members of the EC have been holding summer Bible camp for children. This past summer that camp had twenty attendees from eight families. They also try to stay in contact with these families. During the holiday season they have delivered meals and PRC literature in Spanish to the families. They also invited them to their Sunday School children’s Christmas program. They are now looking into starting a Bible study with the adults of those families.
The Doon EC has been spreading the gospel by publishing articles penned by their minister in the local newspaper. It has also been advertising in that paper. A recent activity is getting permission to erect some road signs around Doon advertising the church’s location. Doon’s EC was in charge of last year’s fall lecture, which featured Rev. A. Brummel speaking on the topic of “The Reformation and Missions.”
Edgerton’s EC holds a spring and fall presentation given by their minister on a variety of topics. Last fall the topic was an overview of TULIP. This Spring Rev. D. Kuiper will present an introduction to church history as a springboard to this Fall’s 500th anniversary of the Reformation of 1517. These presentations are advertised in local newspapers, flyers in surrounding communities, and bulletins of local churches. This EC, too, puts articles in the local newspaper. It is now submitting sections of Rev. R. Hanko’s book, Doctrine according to Godliness (RFPA, 2004, 2012). The EC has also begun posting sermons on Sermonaudio.com as well as on its church’s website (edgertonprc.org).
The newest congregation in our area, Heritage PRC, has been active in evangelism as well. Her EC has done much advertising in the area to encourage Sioux Falls residents to attend Heritage’s church services. It has used Facebook, the U.S. postal services, and other local advertising avenues for this. The EC also is hosting a Bible study in a nearby town, Harrisburg. They have been working through a study of the Old Testament with a varied number of regular attendees.
The Hull PRC EC is now in charge of the Bible study at Dordt College. It has been named the “Young Reformers” and has a presence on Facebook. They meet weekly during the school year. Right now they are studying the book of Romans, but they break from that study periodically for discussions of topics of interest to the college students. Last fall they discussed the political situation in our country and the response a Christian should have to it. Hull’s EC will be in charge of this fall’s annual lecture and are making plans for it.
From all this you can see that evangelism work continues in our tri-state area. Methods old and new are used. Most of the local EC’s are also reading and discussing some piece of literature on evangelism or the Reformed faith. It is our prayer that God will bless our work and use it to the furtherance of His kingdom.
Hope PRC—Walker, MI
The Reformed Witness Committee of Hope PRC, Walker, MI labors under the oversight of our consistory and is composed of the lecture, pamphlet, correspondence, website, and Myanmar subcommittees. The following is an update on our recent labors.
On November 11, 2016, we sponsored a lecture by Prof. D. Engelsma on the topic, “The Necessity of Membership in a True Church,” which was held in connection with Hope’s 100th anniversary. Overall, it was a wonderful evening. Prof. Engelsma delivered an excellent speech on a timely topic, the audience submitted thought-provoking questions, and many stayed and enjoyed refreshments and fellowship following the lecture. About 175 people attended the lecture, and an additional 70 listened online through Sermonaudio.com. If you would like to listen to the lecture, the audio is available on our website, hopeprchurch.org, under the resources tab on the homepage. This lecture webpage also contains 28 questions and answers from the lecture.
In spring 2017, our committee published Prof. Engelsma’s speech along with the questions and answers as a 64-page booklet. Although the RFPA has already published two books written by Prof. Engelsma on the topic of church membership, we felt the lecture merited publication. The booklet provides fresh insight on the topic and issues timely warnings to all churches in the Reformed community. The thoughtful questions and Prof. Engelsma’s instructive responses are profitable for all to read as well. Request your free copy of the booklet by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Google AdWords was one successful form of advertising used to promote the recent lecture. What’s Google AdWords? It is an advertisement that shows up in the Google search results when someone searches a specific term on Google. For example, if you search the term “car” on Google, an ad for a local car dealership will likely show up at the top of the search results. The results of our lecture advertisement were impressive. Over 2,000 individuals clicked on our ad and were directed to our website. Several of these individuals also corresponded with our committee. We plan to continue promoting our website through Google AdWords in the near future.
In 2016 our committee began collaborating with our Council’s Myanmar committee in order to help with Hope’s work with Rev. Titus and the saints in Myanmar. There is much work with the church in Myanmar. We plan to aid our Council with any projects they are too busy to accomplish, while also keeping the denomination well informed of Hope’s Myanmar labors. Visit our website (hopeprchurch.org) to view information and pictures from a recent delegation visit and Rev. Titus’ monthly reports, both of which provide fascinating insight into life in this third-world country. The monthly reports have also been posted to the PRCA website along with an article outlining the history of the work in Myanmar. Click on “Myanmar (Burma)” under the missions tab on the PRCA homepage (prca.org). Our committee is also in the beginning stages of planning Myanmar presentations, which we intend to hold at other PR churches. We look forward to shedding more light on the exciting work in Myanmar.
Kalamazoo, MI PRC
Our Evangelism Committee, consisting of eight men, including our pastor, strives in various ways to assist our congregation in being a bright light in the Kalamazoo area and beyond.
We believe one aspect of our work is to keep the congregation informed and, consequently, more involved through prayer and support, regarding our denominational work in missions and contact with other churches. In the last couple of years we have had presentations, which we normally publicize in the community, on Covenant PRC of Northern Ireland and the Limerick Reformed Fellowship, Vellore PRC in India, and our mission work in the Philippines. This spring we are having a presentation: “Contact in Africa: A Tour with the 2016 Delegation to Namibia and South Africa” by Prof. R. Cammenga.
We have been scheduling a public lecture each fall, often in connection with our observance of the great Reformation. These lectures may be advertised by bulk mailings, door-to-door invitation, Facebook ads, area church bulletin announcements, posted fliers, and, of course, personal invitation.
We recently had an attractive new congregational brochure printed, providing information about our church. Until recently, we had a small pamphlet rack with some of our literature in a Family Christian Bookstore located in Portage.
We maintain an active church Facebook page informing others of highlights in our congregation and various events and activities. We have just finished our church’s new website at www.kalamazooprc.org. We are also now making our sermons available on Sermonaudio.com.
A popular project involving many members, young and old, has been Saturday afternoon Psalter-number singing at Park Village Pines, a local Christian assistedliving facility. Many of the residents really appreciate the Psalms and join us in singing. We schedule these programs every three months or so.
We labor in the confidence that it may please the Lord to use these efforts to draw some unto the faithful preaching of the gospel and into the fellowship of the church. We rejoice that our exalted Lord continues to add “to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47b).
—Rev. Michael DeVries
Loveland, CO PRC—Being His Witnesses
On October 28, 2016, Prof. B. Gritters delivered our annual Reformation Day lecture and encouraged our congregation to “be who we are” as witnesses of our mighty God. As an evangelism committee, we have sought to fulfill this essential characteristic of a church of Christ through various means.
At the same Reformation Day lecture we handed out the short book Evangelism and the Established Church by Rev. J. Kortering. We are putting together a “Sharing the Good News” Scripture-memorization challenge for our congregation based on that book. Each passage will be accompanied by a short explanation of the passage and the fundamental gospel truth it teaches.
This fall, the week following the Reformation conference in Michigan, Rev. S. Key, Rev. M. McGeown, and Prof. R. Cammenga will lead a conference in Loveland celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The conference will focus on the continuing good fruit of the Protestant Reformation.
Northern Colorado is an area of the United States that is in great need of the good news of the gospel truths passed to us by our Reformed fathers. We have spent the last year investigating where and how to start a work in our area, as the Domestic Mission Committee has been promoting. While we wait for the Lord to open doors, we have identified some small steps to take in preparation. We developed a “Welcome Packet” with information about our church, a return mailer, and basic pamphlets to hand to visitors and neighbors. Our church website has been modernized with an up-to-date look and feel. It is also much easier to keep updated with information and the special events on the church calendar (sites.google.com/site/lovelandprctest1/home).
Our committee also keeps busy with regular mailings, pamphlet management, and the other routine work of an Evangelism Committee.
It is our heartfelt prayer that the Lord of the harvest may use these small means to gather His children in northern Colorado.
Peace PRC—Lansing, IL
Peace PRC Evangelism Committee (EC) has been working on some projects this past year. Our committee meets at least once every three months according to Article 6 of our Constitution. The EC at each meeting gives opportunity for our members to bring new ideas on how we can bring the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to our community and congregation.
Our EC Constitution’s preamble states, “We believe that evangelism is the activity of preaching the gospel to all men, both the churched and the unchurched, in order to bring them to a proper understanding of the truth.” As a congregation, we are blessed to have a pastor who loves our Lord and is faithful to the Word of God. Each Sunday as a congregation we are able to meet together and sit under the preaching of the Word, sing praises to our Lord, and grow in knowledge and love for God. The message that is preached is recorded and is available on Sermonaudio to all who wish to listen. We still have available sermons on CD, if there is a request.
Last year the EC took on the task of updating the Peace PRC website (peaceprc.org). Our website was outdated not only in content but also in its design. A technology committee was formed through the Council, and that committee took on the website project. They designed a new website, got it up and running, and are helping to maintain it. The technology committee also watches over the audio for our worship services and keeps that running smoothly. The congregation is very blessed to have members of the church who are willing to give of their time and talents to help assist the congregation and help spread God’s Word.
On our new website, our pastor Rev. R. Barnhill has a blog where he writes about subjects that are relevant to our lives in this day and age. These messages are aimed not only at our own members and other Protestant Reformed churches, but also at others outside of our denomination. The committee is also planning to produce a podcast in the near future on the subject of entitlement. This can be accessed through our website or on Sermonaudio. This is something new for the EC, and we are eager to see how many we can reach. As you can tell, the EC has some new, younger members. Fresh ideas, technical ideas, different ways to spread the gospel! The committee has not abandoned the “old ways,” and we will be working as well on some traditional ways to bring forth the truth to our congregation and to others.
The EC has also been active in assisting others outside our congregation who request correspondence. Rev. Steven Houck, now retired and also a member of Peace congregation, was willing to give of his talents to mentor an inmate who asked for help in learning more about the Reformed faith. The committee would like to thank Rev. Houck for his willingness to help in that request. Upon request, the committee sends books and pamphlets to other churches in our denomination, to mission fields, and to individuals outside our circles.
The EC considers this work of spreading the gospel to be an important work. It is our aim that God, and His Son, Jesus Christ, receive all the praise and honor in this labor.
Southeast PRC—Grand Rapids, MI
The Evangelism Committee of Southeast PRC has for a long time been involved with printed pamphlets and literature. In addition to filling requests that come to us as well as placing printed material in local businesses, we have kept a catalog going, which categorizes the many PRC pamphlets available into topics and main themes. We have also, for many years, provided the Standard Bearer in audio version, which is found on our church’s website (southeastprc.org).
During the past year, a couple decisions were made by Southeast’s Council that are intended to have a positive effect on our church’s evangelism efforts. First, a new technology committee was initiated and appointed. This committee has taken up the task of overhauling our church website, which is currently a work in progress. Second, the evangelism society was changed to an evangelism committee, meaning that members now volunteer to serve three-year terms, are now functioning directly as a committee of the Council, and have closer Council involvement in the work.
New evangelism projects we are presently exploring include jail ministry and the startup of a Bible study, as has been presented and suggested by our Domestic Mission Committee.
Trinity PRC—Hudsonville, MI
The Evangelism Committee of Trinity Protestant Reformed Church continues to work to bring the Word of God to those within and without the sphere of the church in a distinctively Reformed manner.
The Lord continues to open doors for Trinity with Sermonaudio. We continue to receive a large number of monthly downloads of our sermons from all over the world. Recently, we started advertising free booklets that we have posted in the store section of Sermonaudio.com. This has led to over 150 new contacts in the last 6 months.
We continue to investigate ways to do more with our contacts. We send out periodic emails to the contacts and are starting to look into ways to judge the effectiveness of that approach. We are also investigating ways to reach out to our contacts via webinars. We did a trial of this technology with a speech by Rev. W. Bruinsma. He spoke in Pittsburgh, and we listened to the speech at Trinity as well as through a live broadcast on Google Hangouts. We had a question and answer session that worked well also. We are continuing to develop this, with the ultimate goal of reaching out to our contacts.
To help our members reach out to their neighbors, we held a two-day workshop lead by Prof. B. Gritters on personal evangelism.
In our outreach to the community, we promoted a speech on the power of the tongue that was heavily advertised on the radio as well as a local billboard. We place copies of the Beacon Lights in two local restaurants and have promoted sermons on Facebook through advertisements targeted at the Jenison and Hudsonville area.