‘Pentaevangelism’ Culminates in 135 Baptisms
Story by Heidi Shoemaker
Pentaevangelism, … what is that?” asks Peter Simpson, Hispanic Ministries coordinator for the Ohio Conference. “We’ve done many things, but nothing like this.”
‘Pentaevangelism’ (Pentaevangelismo) is the most recent evangelism program designed by Simpson and the Hispanic Ministries Department. Penta (five) refers to the five principal components of evangelism: prayer (oración); preaching (predicación); baptizing (conversión); producing or multiplying (multiplación); and planting (plantación).
Prayer was most important, according to Simpson. “We had 50 people praying for 50 days, for 50 minutes every day, for five people every day. It was contagious.”
Pentaevangelism encourages complete member involvement. “It’s not just giving Bible studies,” shares Simpson. While finding ways to engage members could be challenging at times, the majority of members participated. From praying for the program or preaching in their churches to working with small groups, members became engaged.
“We as pastors cannot accomplish the mission without the members,” says Simpson. “In many churches, the pastor is the only one doing things and the members know that, some saying they pay you to do that. The church is dying because they are not doing anything for themselves and for others.”
More than 350 members, elders and lay leaders facilitated Pentaevangelism, which concluded during the recent Hispanic Camp Meeting, attended by 1,053 people. Hispanic pastors and elders, working alongside several non-Hispanic pastors, baptized 64 people during camp meeting. Then, throughout the 50 days of prayer, 71 baptisms took place conferencewide.
Three years ago, the English-speaking church in Ravenna closed. The Hispanic Church of Akron now meets in Ravenna and offers English translations to returning members from that area. One of those members chose to be baptized during camp meeting. “We have a group of seven or eight coming back to Ravenna … that church will be alive again,” says Simpson. “We’re not just baptizing new people; we’re planting new American churches!”
Part of the mission of Hispanic Ministries is to reach across the cultural divide. Simpson stresses, “If you have a neighbor who [isn’t Hispanic], don’t think we cannot reach out to them. … Everybody around us is a person that needs to be saved.” One Hispanic lay leader from the Cleveland area has a strong transcultural ministry and brought four American people into the faith. They are presently studying the Bible with a Muslim.