Choosing to lead a month-long evangelistic series after the first year of pastoring a new church may sound daunting to some, but according to Pastor Evangelist Trevor Stewart of Smyrna church, “It’s in my DNA for evangelism.”
During August, Stewart hosted an old-fashioned tent meeting in the Smyrna church parking lot, an effort that has not taken place in the Los Angeles area in more than 25 years. “I’m used to doing tent meetings,” said Stewart, who most recently pastored in the Northeastern Conference. “When you’re called to the ministry, God gives you different gifts. I realized that my passion is for evangelism.”
The crusade was themed “Victory in Jesus,” a theme Stewart uses for each of his crusades. Smyrna church worked endlessly to prepare for the event. Appeals were made on Sabbath mornings leading up to the event. A friendship day was arranged, encouraging members to invite their friends and relatives who are not Adventist, adopting the “each one reach one” method. GLAR Director Royal Harrison, 54th Street Pastor Adolphus Garnett, and Stewart also trained 10 Bible workers for nine weeks in preparation.
The revival holds a special place in the heart of Dimple Fields, a member of Smyrna church, who in 1981 was re-baptized and married at a similar meeting. As the platform chair, Fields was heavily involved in preparing for the crusade and welcomed visitors and members to the meetings.
“The Holy Spirit moved on the hearts of the people of God,” said Fields. “Stewart preached the Word and ended with the call for people to accept Jesus Christ through baptism. They responded without hesitation.”
With the goal to maintain and retain, elders at the church plan to nurture each new member. “Every church I go to, they know that after my first year, this [crusade] is what we’re going to do,” Stewart said. “Now at Smyrna, this is just the beginning.”
“When you have a congregation that’s willing to do the work for the Lord,” adds Fields, “the opportunities are endless.”