The Grants Pass Church has 678 members, or "laborers," as Christian Martin, Grants Pass Church pastor, described in a recent sermon series of Luke's passage on the "Lord of the harvest" and the need to pray for laborers to be send out.
According to Martin, the great need is for “laboring laborers,” those actively engaged in soul-winning. On Feb. 13, 2016, Martin appealed to the Grants Pass congregation, "Give God permission to throw you out into His great harvest." At the conclusion of the series on March 5, an appeal was made to enlist "lay Bible workers," and 68 members responded.
On Sabbath afternoon, March 12, More than 70 attended the Harvest Is Great Lay Bible Worker Training in the church sanctuary. The first session of the two-day training was presented by the Grants Pass pastoral staff, followed by a training presentation the next day by Charles Byrd, director of Thunder in the Holy Land.
During the first day of training, Tony Rodriguez discussed “Personal Preparation and Consecration for Bible Studies.” Before God can send His laborers, there must be prayer. Rodriguez told the group that, in his experience with Bible studies, “people want to be led by someone who has been with God.” This requires a strong prayer life, a connection with God.
Chuck Austin led the second session, “Practical Instruction for Giving a Bible Study.” He stressed that we should never think of failure. If God is involved, there will be no true failure. Austin spoke of not making assumptions of a student, particularly when it comes to Bible knowledge. His guidelines were practical and encouraged those who have never led out in a Bible study.
Martin led the last session, “How to Lead to a Decision and Answer Objections.” He emphasized "Christ's method alone," as outlined by Ellen G. White. Arguably the most important and valuable principle is “personal contact and visitation in the home" before inviting someone to follow Christ. He discussed with the group the typical objections a Bible student might have when asked to make a commitment. Biblical references were provided that could be a response in various situations.
More than 100 members, representing several Southern Oregon churches, including a delegation from the Portland area, attended the second part of this training on March 13. Byrd and his wife, Karen, were on hand to demonstrate Thunder in the Holy Land, a high-definition video Bible study series was produced to have a documentary feel. Young “reporters” are filmed on location where various biblical events have occurred. Viewers are led on a journey through the Holy Land, exploring the teachings of Jesus.
In discussing how to conduct these Bible studies, Byrd reinforced many key points presented in the previous training. To hold effective Bible studies, one simply needs a connection with Jesus and the desire to share the ospel.
This regional training is building up to the Unlock Revelation, a multimedia Bible prophecy series, beginning Oct. 3. This unprecedented initiative will involve more than 10 churches and bring several congregation together to do the work of evangelism. Several Oregon Conference departments are scheduled to provide training as Grants Pass members continue to pray for more "laboring laborers" to be send out to the great southern Oregon harvest.
Christian Martin, Grants Pass Church pastor, and Jennifer Burkes, Grants Pass Church communication leader