“Brother John, why don’t you do lots of public evangelistic series like all the other Adventists who came before you?”
Joe, one of my church leaders, and I were driving back from taking a patient to the hospital.
“Well,” I replied. “How did Jesus go about starting the Christian movement that spread around the world?”
“Didn’t He preach to huge crowds?” Joe replied.
“Yes, He did,” I agreed. “But, from what we read in Scripture, if you estimate and add up all the time Jesus spent preaching to crowds, He didn’t actually do it very much. Where do you read that Jesus spent most of His time?”
Joe thought for a while. “I would guess He spent most of His time with the 12 disciples.”
“That’s right. In Acts 1:21, 22, Peter mentions that the disciples went everywhere with Jesus from His baptism until the cross. Jesus spent most of His time training them.”
“What about the unreached tribes of Mindoro?” I continued. “How many years has the Adventist church been trying to reach them?”
“I’m not sure,” Joe said. “But we have records of Adventists trying to reach our Tawbuid tribe for the past 30 years.”
“Hmm, and how many churches did they plant among the Tawbuid by preaching public evangelistic series?” I asked.
Joe was silent for a moment. Then a lopsided grin broke out on his face. “They planted one church in those 30 years. But it wasn’t an evangelistic series that planted it. It was an Adventist housewife who invited us to a meal every Sabbath and preached to us before we ate. She kept at it year after year until some of us eventually understood and believed.”
I kept quiet while Joe thought some more. “The churches we have planted since you started teaching us were planted the same way. Our attempt at preaching an evangelistic series flopped. The villages where we have churches now are the ones where a missionary moved in and lived with the people while he taught.”
“Well, Joe,” I concluded, “I think you just answered your own question!”