NOTE: In July 2014, Pastor Edd Cathey of Grace and Peace Presbyterian Church in California, MD, led a group of young men on a trip to Key West to learn evangelism with Pastor Bill Welzien of Keys Presbyterian Church. Read an overview that Rev. Cathey provided on the trip by clicking here. We are pleased to share the following personal testimonial received from team member, Tom Sills.
I am very glad that I was fortunate enough to visit Bill Welzien in Key West for a week with a group of men from my church. During this time I drew closer to God, deepened relationships with the other men, and challenged myself to step out of my comfort zone by sharing my faith with strangers. This trip was beneficial to my understanding of evangelism and has changed my approach towards it.
Bill hosted daily sessions where he taught about evangelism using numerous scripture references and also taught a specific technique he developed. He emphasized God’s sovereignty in drawing people to himself. Our participation in this process is to be faithful in planting seeds. We do not always see the fruit of our work when we share the gospel, but this does not mean our labor is in vain. Others may water the seed we have planted and God can still draw a person to himself later on (1 Corinthians 3:6-9). Our job is to be faithful to proclaim the message, even though we are weak and still have struggles with sin in our lives. This encouraged me to continue to share God’s Word, whereas before I felt discouraged when I didn’t see many people come to Christ when I shared the gospel.
The specific technique taught by Bill was called “word painting.” This involves shapes that are pre-drawn on paper, which are subsequently filled in to reveal block letters of his message. It was a good way of captivating an audience at Mallory Square in Key West. Mallory Square is a place well known for its beautiful sunsets which attract many visitors each evening. There are also many street performers that provide entertainment. Bill preaches the gospel through his “word painting” on a simple easel, often times facing stiff competition from the other entertainment going on. It was interesting to see how many people who started watching the presentation left once words such as “hell” and “Jesus” went on the board. I did have the opportunity to talk about God with several people, and I also met many other Christians who stayed to watch the presentation.
Overall, I believe my trip to Key West was very beneficial. I can use the ideas Bill utilized in his “word painting” when I engage in evangelism. I am also encouraged as I meditate on how God is at work in spreading the gospel; it is not my efforts in and of themselves that bring a sinner to repentance and faith. Thanks be to God for His work in Bill’s life and may others make their way to Key West to follow our Lord’s command to go and make disciples.