Evangelism in a New Neighborhood

joelI have the privilege of coaching churches in cell-based ministry. Each week I talk on the phone to pastors and try to help guide them in making cell ministry work in their churches. One of those pastors is Michael Sove, cell champion at Allen Memorial Baptist Church in Salisbury, Maryland (about 2 1/2 hours from Baltimore).  Michael is the guy on the right with the glasses. Bill Warren, the man on the left, is the senior pastor of Memorial Baptist Church. bill and michael

I was so excited about Michael’s attempt to reach out to his new neighborhood for Jesus that I asked him to write his testimony down, so that I could share it with you on this blog. Because of the length of Michael’s testimony, I’ll include the first part today and the second part on Wednesday. Michael Sove writes:

My adventure began in March as my wife and I signed a contract on a new townhouse in Fruitland, Maryland, which was contingent on the sale of our condo in Ohio. I was called one year ago to be the Cell Champion at Allen Memorial Baptist in Salisbury, MD. We have grown in one year from nine cells to twenty cells with three more getting ready to launch in the next month. Our cells are called “Neighborhood Life” as we want to bring the life of Christ into our neighborhoods.

Our condo sold at the end of March and we got approved to build our townhouse in a new community called Cedar Commons. The target date for moving in would be the middle of July. This was very exciting because we would be some of the first residents to live in this new housing development. The plan was for seventy nine townhouses, fifty duplexes and 27 single family homes. From the moment I sensed God wanted us to build in this community my wife and I began to drive over daily to pray over the land, asking God for His favor in this community and the opportunity to influence this whole development for Christ.

When we moved in on July 17th there were only five other families currently living at Cedar Commons. I began to take a prayer walk every morning and evening. I continued to ask God for His favor and the favor of the residents. As I walked and prayed I promised the Lord that I would never walk by a person without talking to them and befriending them. The Lord has been faithful and has allowed me to meet every person in the community. There are now fifteen families and God is opening a whole world of opportunities to minister to these families.

Shortly after moving in I had an open house and invited some church friends as well as my neighbors to come celebrate with us. I went around and invited neighbors in person and if they didn’t answer the door, I left a flyer giving the invitation. Four new families showed up including a young woman who, after meeting William Warren, the Senior Pastor, and I, started crying and said, “I need God and now I know why I came to your house.” She has been at Celebration and Cell ever since that day. My next door neighbors weren’t attending church together and they have connected with us as well. The stories go on and on.

My neighbors who are Christians have now caught the vision for claiming our neighborhood for Christ and are excited about the cell group I’ll be planting in our development on Nov 7th. As I meet people in the neighborhood I tell them about my vision for bringing people together and how I’d like to throw a monthly party for that purpose. Everyone seems open to the idea and are all excited about this and a few have begun to offer their help and homes as well. I just held my first monthly party, a cookout and invited all fifteen families to attend. Three families were out of town but eight attended. What an awesome day we had together!

The second part on Wednesday. . . .

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