Cleveland Hispanic Churches Host Four Campaigns
“Who thought this up?” asked one member. “It’s never been done before,” said another. “This is a bad idea,” expressed a third. What was Pedro Simpson, Hispanic Ministries director for the Ohio Conference and pastor of several Cleveland area Hispanic churches and, proposing to cause members such concern? He wanted to hold evangelistic campaigns in four congregations at the same time!
Story by Heidi Shoemaker, Ohio Conference
Fearing a disaster, members and leaders of his churches viewed Simpson’s plan with considerable skepticism. However, after prayer and more explanation, the congregations stepped out in faith. Members distributed hundreds of Bible study lessons with invitations to friends and relatives of church members. Each small group had their own campaign prior to the main event, with some small groups divided into missionary couples. Leaders placed advertisements in local papers and flyers. But, members encouraged attendance “primarily through the person-to-person contact, each one bringing another,” says Simpson.
During the main event, four guest pastors presented at four Cleveland-area congregations. Then, the Ebenezer Spanish church hosted a memorable celebration where 29 people made decisions for Christ. This number was so unexpected that many had to wear choir robes since area churches did not have enough baptismal robes for the candidates to wear.
Simpson was not surprised, as he conducted series like this when he pastored in Central America before to coming to Ohio. “It’s common to do simultaneous campaigns in an area where you have several churches [in close proximity], and finish all of them in one celebration. … Believe me, it’s exciting to see the wonderful results!”
Today all new members are engaged in some sort of mission. After the conclusion of the series, Simpson provided a special, five-week training program for new members to “re-study the basic doctrine and to train them to do more missionary work,” he shares. “It was amazing to hear from them the new life they are experiencing. …They are excited and working.”
Feature Photo: Javier Morales, a new member of the First Cleveland Hispanic church, embraces Pastor Pedro Simpson while Javier Cruz and Pastor Edwing Monterroza look on.