Oikos Lutheran Church in Houston’s Inner Loop has used the Texas District’s evangelist training program in a creative way by deploying one of its college-bound students as an evangelist to Trinity University in San Antonio.
Rev. Aaron Lytle, Oikos senior pastor, working in conjunction with Rev. Dr. Yohannes Mengsteab, district director of Evangelist Development, trained and deployed Oikos member, Hailey Arias, to reach those far from God among the student population at Trinity. The district’s evangelist training process is designed to help lay men and women—who already have an evangelistic impulse and skill—develop a ministry that reaches into dark places with the light of the Gospel.
Here are Pastor Lytle’s responses to our inquiries about this ministry:
What prompted you and your congregation to decide to train and deploy Hailey?
Hailey has always been a natural evangelist sharing her faith and inviting friends into a relationship with Jesus. In the last year, the Lord gave her a deep faith, wisdom and maturity that enables her to serve in a greater capacity.
What potential for Gospel outreach do you see at Trinity?
Hailey has already begun connecting with people who are far from Jesus. Our hope is that a ministry would begin on campus providing an opportunity for people to receive faith, be discipled and ultimately be deployed as to wherever their lives take them.
How has the district’s Evangelist training process helped your congregation engage in this ministry opportunity?
The training process built a foundation that was needed to help us dream about who, where, and how we could train and deploy Evangelists. It was also helpful in creating conversations that encouraged a solid theological ethos.
At the time of this interview, the academic year has just started, but has Hailey experienced any results from her effort so far?
A few of the students the Lord connected to Hailey came home to Houston this past weekend. They got to experience life in a Christian home as Hailey and her family got to know them. Hailey is now working on a prayer journey that will include the names of those she meets. This intentional journal will guide Hailey as she invites and shares the Gospel with those who are far from Jesus.
In what other ways is your congregation considering utilizing the Evangelist training process?
We hope to train an Assistant Principal in public schools as she reaches out to faculty and families of the school. We have a few more who will be essential in reaching and creating places of peace where people can experience Jesus.
Congregations throughout the district are beginning to train and deploy Evangelists to reach new people with the Gospel. What potential exists in your congregation? To get involved, have a conversation with your local district staff person or contact Dr. Mengsteab directly.
Jon Braunersreuther, D. Min.
Director of Districtwide Strategy
Mission Strategist—Area D