For those struggling to share the Good News, Sidney advises, “The hardest thing to work through is rejection. I would say that about 1 in 20 responds positively.”
Twenty-one. That’s the number of salvation decisions that Campbell Avenue Baptist Church in urban Lynchburg recorded this fall through its intern’s ministry.
Pastor John Pickett had been praying for God to bring someone who could help kick-start the children’s and youth ministries of Campbell Avenue Baptist Church. At the same time, Sidney Johnson, having graduated from college with a degree in law and public policy with a minor in theology, was making plans to attend law school when the Lord prompted him to change plans and enter the seminary. So, Sidney did just that and began looking for a local church where he could serve while he continued his studies.
Pastor Pickett applied for and received an SBCV internship grant (funded by the SBCV Vision Virginia Missions Offering) to help the church pay Sidney for his time. Sidney quickly began serving and enlisted others to help.
On Campbell Avenue’s mid-internship report, Pickett noted: “Sidney and his team have turned our third-floor storage and junk rooms into a clean, painted, and beautifully decorated youth and children’s suite. He has also developed a Saturday morning evangelistic outreach that has seen dozens of children, youth, and adults make decisions for Christ.”
The SBCV caught up with Pastor Pickett to hear the full story of how God was moving. He shared how Sidney’s focus on evangelism had helped the church see the opportunity to share Christ through simple things like a church yard sale. “He and his team from Liberty University and from our church struck up conversations with each one who came to buy something. Instead of buying items, many had the opportunity to hear about the free gift of Jesus Christ.”
Sidney also led a team of Liberty students to do Saturday morning outreach in the neighborhoods surrounding the church. He teamed less confident people with more experienced participants. When asked about the focus on evangelism, Sidney stated, “If God wants you not to share, He will make it abundantly clear, but the command to go has already been given.”
When asked for what encouragement he would give to others who are struggling to share the Good News, Sidney advised, “The hardest thing to work through is rejection. I would say that about 1 in 20 responds positively.”
He also referenced, (1) the importance of leaders being intentional with the people they lead and, (2) the importance of prayer. “Sometimes we pray more to keep saints out of heaven than we do for lost people to enter heaven.”
When reflecting on the impact Sidney has had on Campbell Avenue, Pastor Pickett concluded, “God is already at work all around us. Sometimes our eyes aren’t pure enough to see it.”
God is already at work—most of us are familiar with those words. But less familiar than those words are those who will intentionally join God in his work. Will you? ■