Go Engage conference puts training into practice to see no place left
January 19, 2017
It happens often that conferences provide information and advice and then send people back to their lives to implement what they have learned on their own. On September 8-10, 2016, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) hosted a completely different type of conference—one where training was put to immediate practice.
GO Engage was a unique event that included highly interactive training sessions and field practicum. Attendees included seminary students, members of local churches and people from churches as far away as Delaware and the Czech Republic. Experienced trainers from around the United States taught on various topics including reproducing evangelism and disciple making, starting Bible studies in homes to reach lost people, raising up leaders from the harvest and more.
For the field practicum, attendees went into the harvest to engage “pockets of lostness” in neighborhoods identified as the least evangelized in the Raleigh/Durham (RDU) area.
SEBTS Associate Professor of Missions and Evangelism George Robinson reported that the conference attendees and trainers saw much fruit as they shared what they learned with people in more than 300 homes.
“In all we engaged people from over two dozen ethnicities, sharing the gospel in each encounter,” Robinson said. “We are aware of eight people who repented and put their faith in Christ on the spot…Almost half of the homes engaged gave their contact information and asked to have someone come back and share more.”
Robinson coordinated GO Engage, which was a collaborative effort between the No Place Left RDU coalition, SEBTS’ Center for Great Commission Studies (CGCS) and the North Carolina Baptist Convention.
Eight RDU area churches partnered to connect with people who heard the gospel during the GO Engage training. Already, a church in the area has followed up with two new believers who accepted Christ during the event and are helping them establish a Bible study group with others from their home country.
Particularly different for this training was that Robinson and other SEBTS professors attended the event as learners rather than teachers. In fact, a few of the trainers involved in the event were once SEBTS students under the mentorship of Robinson. As he trained and mentored them during their time at SEBTS, so they trained him and others on what they have learned about evangelism and disciple making in the field.
“I intentionally did not have any SEBTS faculty training because I wanted to model for our students that we, too, are life-long learners,” said Robinson. “In particular, I wanted to model generational disciple making by now having those I’ve mentored teach with me present.”
Many attendees took what they learned home to teach and train others. With the excitement and confidence generated from both teaching and practicum during the training, churches have already seen results. One local church hosted a mini-training session where those who attended GO Engage joined other church members to engage an additional 100 homes in Wake Forest, and this is just one example.
“The ripple effects have already been shared with me related to students and church members intentionally engaging their own communities with the gospel,” Robinson said. “It is our hope and prayer that we can host a two-day training at the beginning of each academic year and a mini-training and practicum associated with the GO Conference course each February so that our students can walk alongside us in prayer, evangelism and disciple making.”
No Place Left RDU is a voluntary network of individuals and existing churches devoted to co-laboring in God’s Harvest through prayer, evangelism, intentional and reproducing disciple making, gathering new believers into new or existing churches and equipping leaders for exponential engagement until there’s no people or ethnic group, city or population segment lacking access to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Find out more here.