Jesus the Christ told us around 2,000 years ago in Matt. 24:14 that “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come.” This commission and prediction was in full force this past July 8-22 in the city of St. Louis, Missouri, where pastor and evangelist Brinton McKenzie preached Christ and Him crucified at the Berean Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The title of the evangelistic series was “Pain.” Yes, ladies and gentlemen; that is not a typo. Pastor McKenzie’s summary of what his preaching series centered around was: “Pain is not the problem; it is just the messenger to inform us that something is wrong.” Please do not miss the power and relevancy of that quote. In a city and in a world where there is much pain–physical pain, emotional pain, mental pain, spiritual pain—there was a relevant word for all those who attended this outreach series.
The prophetess to the Adventist Church, Ellen White, shared many times that we must employ various methodologies to reach people with the good news of Jesus Christ. And this evangelistic series and the angle that Pastor McKenzie took in lifting up Jesus as the answer to the pain problems in our lives was powerful and impactful. Some have said that public evangelism is no longer effective or relevant in the age and culture in which we live. Others have made comments to the effect that spending resources and time on evangelistic multi-week series are no longer effective. But I believe that the 12 precious souls who gave their lives to Jesus, 10 being baptized and two joining the remnant church of Bible prophecy through profession of faith, are a testimony that even in 2023 people still need the Lord, and have a desire to be His children.
In addition to the two-week series, McKenzie shared how ongoing Bible studies for new believers and those who are interested in studying His Word have continued on Monday evenings. The Berean Seventh-day Adventist Church is located on the famous St. Louis corner of Union and Page Boulevards. It is a major intersection in an urban area
where predominantly black people live and work. It may not be considered the safest neighborhood in the city, but it is clearly one that has the greatest need for evangelism.
We sincerely thank God that Pastor McKenzie and the members of the Berean church family are still willing to give us all a reminder that evangelism is aliveand well in St. Louis, Missouri. To God be the glory!
Cryston Josiah is vice president of administration for the Central States Conference headquartered in Kansas City, Kansas.