By Ruth Whorton
In a society that is seeing a decline in the number of youth who attend church, news of effective evangelism outreach is an encouragement to all. First Missionary Baptist Church (FMBC) in Fort Worth saw the Lord work in ways far beyond expected at the beginning of the summer through a summer concert, where 22 youth came to know the Lord.
The Saturday after school ended in Fort Worth, FMBC hosted Christian rap and hip-hop artists at their first ever Summer Jam concert. The event was hosted for youth in the community who were not involved in church.
The heart behind the concert came from an effort to “get out of our traditions and intentionally target young people,” said Pastor Patrick Moses.
While planning Summer Jam, Youth Minister Antonio Reed debated over different ways to promote the event. He ultimately determined that youth were the best way to reach other youth. In addition to flyers and social media promotion, the youth from FMBC went into their community to spread the word about the concert.
They walked across the street from the church to apartment complexes to people in need of the Gospel. They found peers and shared the information and a sincere invitation on Summer Jam and sincerely invited them to come. Reed used this experience to impart to the youth the necessity of going out into the world and sharing the Good News with others.
Through this outreach, word of the event spread around town.
The day of Summer Jam, FMBC member Doris Waggoner witnessed “a flood of youth” coming to the event. Waggoner, who was responsible for food at Summer Jam, felt there was a great need for youth to feel comfortable at church and was excited to see “the young so open to the church and receiving the truth of the Gospel.”
After a meal was shared, the youth went inside the church the see the artists perform. Before each act, the artist shared their testimony with the youth. This helped reinforce the message of the Gospel behind the music they performed.
Christian rap and hip hop showed the youth that church is a fun, relatable place where there are people who love God and love them, Moses noted.
At the closing of the concert, a message from Romans chapters 9-10 was shared and the Gospel presented. Twenty-two youth accepted Christ that night. Pastor Moses spoke with every single person to assure they understood the message they heard.
Joy abounded as the next day, Sunday morning, many of the youth who attended the concert came to church, some for the first time. Eight of the students who professed faith in Jesus the night before were baptized that morning.
Moses, joining as pastor in February of 2017, has faithfully committed to extending the legacy set by the first and previous pastor of FMBC the late Rev. Charlie M. Singleton. Founded in 1984, FMBC has blessed their community for 34 years through the influence that Singleton set. Moses desires to carry on this commitment to God through his evangelism efforts in the community and to intentionally include youth.
Looking forward, Moses desires the church to be, “an empowerment center dedicated to serving the needs of the whole person.” His desire for the lost to find Jesus is evident throughout all he does. This movement of people coming to know Christ is the desire of FMBC.
Above all, lies a need for the Gospel. Moses remains committed to God, doing whatever it takes, to reach the lost.
“The message is the same,” he said. “Christ lived. Christ died. The method may change, but the message is the same.”