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What do you do when the church you are serving lacks evangelistic zeal? The first church I ministered in full-time was in a small town in Iowa. The pastor I served under was a godly man who loved God, his family, and those who came to church. It wasn’t hard to fall in love with our new church family. However, something was missing. Nothing was being done to reach those in the community.  

 I called one of my mentors, complaining that “evangelism didn’t exist in the church where I was serving” I’ll never forget his advice:   

 “Jeremy, it starts with you!”  

 Not exactly what I wanted to hear. I was hoping for his counsel on how to motivate others to evangelize. Instead, he told me that it all started with me. That advice has resonated in my heart for the past 20 years of my ministry.  

 The apostle Paul gave similar advice to a timid Timothy when he wrote: “But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:5)  

 I love this verse! Paul gives Timothy four powerful commands to follow.  

 Paul tells Timothy: keep your mind clear (be sober in all things). Don’t quit when things get tough (endure hardship). Make sure you are going after souls (do the work of an evangelist). Be faithful in completing each task that God has given to you whether it is big or small (fulfill your ministry).  

 It was clear from this verse that God wanted me, as a pastor, to do the work of an evangelist. I must show others what it means to have a heart for souls. But how?  

 God calls us as pastors to not only love our congregation but ALSO to love those in the community in which we live. Practically, this means we need to be actively involved in our community. 

 Every church & community is different. God has sovereignly – and strategically – placed you and your church in your community. What is important to your community? Do you know?  To be effective in evangelism, we must make what is important to our community, important to us:    

 “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Phil. 2:3-4) 

 For me, coaching has provided open doors to share and show the love of Christ. Coaching gives me a continual presence in our community.   

 My baseball coaching began in 2017 when my sons were in Little League. The planned coach was a last-minute scratch, and I found myself the new head coach. I loved baseball, but I had a lot to learn about coaching.  

 While I learned how to coach, God allowed me to build life relationships with other coaches and parents. Several started visiting our church. Our current worship leader is someone I met through coaching, and his son is now the bass player on the worship team. God’s grace is amazing!  

 A few years later, I met Steve Collier, the JV coach at our local high school. Our son Johnny loved playing for Coach Steve. We crossed paths at a coach’s clinic in Denver and, to my surprise, he asked if I would be willing to help him coach the high school team. I was elated. God was opening doors for me to show and share the love of Christ – “Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut.” (Revelation 3:8)  

Our first preseason game was in March of 2020. I was so excited to coach high school baseball, travel with the team, teach, & learn more about this great game. Then COVID hit. Our season was canceled.    

 But coach Steve loved the game and the players too much to just sit around. He got permission to organize a baseball team for the summer and fall community rec leagues and he and I were back in the coaching business!  Over the next several months, Steve and I developed a close relationship. We shared not only a love for baseball, but also a love for our families, our players, and each other. He knew that I was a pastor, and he often talked with me about spiritual things. Little did I know that everything would soon change.  

 The 2020 World Series was in Texas, and Steve asked if I was interested in going. While I wanted to go, my favorite team, the Yankees, did not make it, so I said no. Steve got tickets and went with his two sons. Our last practice for the fall season was on a Thursday, and Steve & his sons left early the next day on a long drive from Colorado to Texas. 

 On the way, they were in a terrible highway accident that claimed all three of their lives.  

 My son Johnny and I were crushed. My heart still aches. The days that followed are still mostly a blur. While attending an open-air memorial service for Steve and his boys at a local baseball field, one of our players asked if I would lead the team up to the microphone to say a few words.  

 I was hesitant at first; in fact, I told him no. After a few moments, God began tugging at my heart, and the words of my mentor came to mind…. 

 “Jeremy, it starts with you…” 

 God wanted me to be the example here! I told the team to follow me, and 10 players from the team followed me to the microphone. I spoke briefly, sharing a couple of stories about Steve and Josh, and then shared about the hope we have in Christ. After I spoke, several players followed. My son Johnny took the microphone, honoring Christ with an incredible speech with tears flowing from his eyes.  

 God taught me a valuable lesson that day: 

 You can’t expect others to do something that you are unwilling to do.  

 The team looked to me to lead. They would have never spoken if I hadn’t been willing to speak!  

 My pastor friends, your church is looking to you to take the lead in evangelism. Love your community, meet their needs, and ask God to give you an open door. It may not be with coaching. Do something!  

 You will be amazed at what He will do as you serve your community! 

 “Therefore, be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” (Eph. 5:15-16)  


God has allowed Jeremy to serve in various capacities of ministry over the last 20 years, including associate pastor (in Iowa), missionary (in Peru & Argentina), and professor (in both Spanish- and English-speaking settings). He received his B.A. from the University of West Alabama and his M.Div. from Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary. He earned his Doctor of Ministry from Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary. He is currently serving as pastor of Widefield Community Bible Church in Colorado Springs, CO. Jeremy has a heart for preaching and people. He enjoys expository preaching, reading, fishing, golfing, coaching baseball and tennis, watching New York sports teams, and spending time with God’s flock and his family. God has blessed Pastor Jeremy with a wonderful wife and four amazing children. 

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