FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – With Gospel tracts in hand, Southwestern students Matthias Reimer and Kennedy Mathis* head away from campus and into a popular hangout spot for teens to share the love of Jesus Christ. The Lord has given them a heart to reach Rosedale Park, which sits across the street from the seminary’s student village housing.
“A couple of us decided we should adopt (the) park ... meaning we would pray for it, prayer walk in it, and go with the intention to share each week,” Mathis says.
For Mathis and Reimer, growing up in Christian homes allowed them to learn about the love of Jesus, but taking evangelism classes at Southwestern opened their eyes to what it means to proclaim the Good News no at all times.
“Sharing (the Gospel) naturally comes about when we do it regularly. What we do regularly becomes a habit, and a habit shapes our character,” Reimer notes.
This habit has lead many students at Southwestern to evangelize not out of obligation but out of a desire to see people come to faith in Christ.
“I met kids who had lost family members to shootings, kids who were into witchcraft, kids who were worried they might be pregnant, kids who wondered if there was more to this life than what they faced every day. And a large part of my time was listening and loving and praying,” Mathis says.
While learning about door-to-door evangelism in class, Mathis and Reimer were challenged to step out of their comfort zones and share the love of Christ with anyone who might listen. Mathis remembers a particular teenager at the park who listened but with obvious anguish.
“He told me about telling Satan he would follow him if Satan would give him what he desired,” Mathis recalls. “And I watched as literal physical guilt came over this 13-year-old boy's face. He knew that what he had done was wrong. However, he didn't think that God could love him or save him from what he had done.”
Instances such as this provided prime opportunities for Mathis and the other students to share how “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ” (Rom. 8:1).
For Reimer, the need for compassion drives his encounters with the people he meets.
“Even during a conversation I try to bring to my mind where the person in front of me is going if they do not repent in order to have compassion and love for them. This way they can see that I am being serious about hell while I sincerely show them that I love them.”
This approach allows nonbelievers to truly experience the love of Christ even if they are talking with a complete stranger. Mathis remembers a girl in the park who was thankful for the love that was shown to her.
“(She) came up to me the last week that I was there before the summer and said, ‘I just wanted to say thank you for all you have done for me. You continually pray for me, and I know it. Thank you.’ ”
The girl’s reaction testifies to God’s movement in the park and other local areas where students share the Gospel. Lives on both ends of the spiritual spectrum are changing, and it is no surprise how intentional evangelism can impact anyone.
According to Reimer, who spent the summer at his home in Germany, this impact is reaching not only the Fort Worth area but the world as well.
“I was encouraged to make (evangelism) part of my weekly schedule, to go out once a week and share the Gospel,” Reimer says. “I’m teaching an evangelism class at my church here in Germany, and we go out door–to-door once a week.”
The power of the Gospel knows no limits when it comes to bringing people to Christ.
“I have to remember that He can use my conversation with a stranger, a waiter, a friend, a student ... whomever, to draw that person to Himself,” adds Mathis.
Openness to these conversations can lead to a pattern of sharing the Gospel on a regular basis, and such a pattern will continue to move mountains beyond the campus of Southwestern.
*Name changed for security purposes.
Read more evangelism stories at www.swbts.edu/EvangelismStories.