I recently had the privilege of helping organize and witness the baptism of 1,311 Pathfinders at the Chosen Oshkosh Camporee. Now I know some of you may be thinking: “When you put young people in a setting like that, emotions take over and they really don’t understand what they are committing to.”

As it turns out, Pathfinder Camporee is an exceptional place for young people to take their stand for Jesus. A study is being conducted through Andrews University with the Pathfinders who were baptized five years ago at Oshkosh, and to date 94 percent of them are still active in their church—praise the Lord!

Multiple kinds of evangelism

When someone speaks of baptisms and evangelism, often public evangelism comes to mind. This is a critical piece of our evangelistic work as a church. As we share with our communities the marvelous revelation of Jesus in the books of Daniel and Revelation, those whose hearts are open are amazed at what Jesus has done and is doing for us. They want to be part of God’s people!

When Ellen White wrote about evangelism, she said Christ’s method for winning hearts was to enter people’s lives armed with acts of love and kindness. And after they know we love them, we can invite them to follow Jesus (Ministry of Healing p. 143).

In many ways, that is what happens for our Pathfinders. Pathfinder directors and staff have chosen to give of their time, energy and love. They work with our youth week-in and week-out, taking them camping, doing community service, and spearheading the efforts to get them to Oshkosh. Our kids know they are loved. Then—trusting that they are loved—they are open to our invitations for them to give their lives to the Lord.

Celebrating the birth of new disciples

What do you think of when you hear the word evangelism? Public evangelistic efforts? Literature evangelism? Compassion ministry? Youth ministry? The spirit of evangelism should run through our veins no matter what role we play. And the most exciting moment for a group of believers is when someone is baptized … the moment another disciple is born.

I will never forget one Pathfinder who was baptized at Oshkosh. I don’t know his name or where he was from, but when he was coming out of the baptismal pool, he was crying tears of joy. He saw Ken Denslow, assistant to the president at the North American Division, standing there on the boardwalk and just went up to him and hugged him tightly. Ken, who didn’t know the young man, was overwhelmed with emotion too. He didn’t even notice the Pathfinder’s wet clothing. He was happy just to receive the hug and celebrate the moment with this new disciple.

How about you? What brings you joy? I once heard you can measure the quality of a person’s life by what brings them happiness.

What are you doing in your journey that is evangelistic? The truth is, none of us are off the hook here. We are all called to make disciples for Jesus.

We know in heaven there is a party when someone gives their life to the Lord. If you are deeply moved when you see someone make a stand for Jesus, then I believe you have the spirit of evangelism.