Published January 1, 2009
DOUGLASVILLE — Evangelist Mike Holt and “7Project” swept through the middle schools and high schools of Douglas County with amazing success Oct. 10-23 according to Kevin Maples, pastor of Dorsett Shoals Baptist Church.
“7Project” is a group that goes around the Southeast speaking to teens about problems they face. Mike Holt, a native of Columbus and the group’s director, has found that most schools are open to his ministry because he addresses issues that are relevant to teens
In his school appearances in Douglas County, Holt offered practical solutions for six major challenges students face. The six challenges included everything from sex and STDs to suicide, substance abuse, apathy, and peer pressure.
Holt stated, “We address all those issues during the day in the assembly, but I tell them the seventh solution is so big, I can’t talk about it at school.”
He explained, “You will have to come to Arbor Place Mall on Thursday night to hear the rest of the story. Of course, then we reveal the 7th solution, which is all about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”
The rally at Arbor Place Mall was described as unprecedented, historic, groundbreaking, and revolutionary. The organizers of the rally had hoped and prayed for 2,500-3,000 people to attend the rally, but the crowd was estimated to be well over 6,500.
The Douglas 7Project was accomplished with the help of 700 volunteers, 34 supporting churches, and dozens of corporate and civic partnerships. However, all the effort and hard work paid off with 507 students and adults responding to the gospel invitation given at the mall. Most were first-time professions of faith.
The impact of 7Project upon the churches in Douglas County has been remarkable. Kevin Wilson, minister to students at Ephesus Baptist Church in Villa Rica, stated, “The best aspect for Ephesus was the way it allowed our adults to interact with lost kids. Several of our adults had their first conversation about the gospel with lost teens and for some of them this was their first time ever to lead someone to Christ. Our kids still talk about it and the ‘project’ was the point of entry for several students who are now involved in our ministry.
“The true beauty of the Douglas 7Project was not to be found in the record number of teens or the cutting edge equipment and strategy used to reach this generation. The true beauty of the event was evident in the simple proclamation of the never-changing gospel. When the gospel is proclaimed Jesus calls men to himself regardless of age.”
Maples added, “A week prior to the rally at Arbor Place Mall some of the churches supporting the event gathered together for a pre-event rally. Five students from our youth group were saved that night. Others were saved during our Wednesday services as a result of the seeds planted through the school assemblies and rally.
“One man had attended two Sunday services at our church and then came on the following Wednesday and was saved. His wife rededicated her life. The next night at the 7Project rally, their two daughters responded to the invitation and prayed to receive Christ.”
Maples continued, “At this point, 15 people have been saved within the span of less than a month. After praying and asking the Lord for wisdom and guidance, I felt led to invite an evangelist to help us reach some families of the new believers.
“I called evangelist Keith Fordham and explained what was happening. He gave up a week he had reserved for family and rest to come preach a revival with just a little over two weeks’ notice. As a result of the Fordham revival we had another four people saved. Altogether, we had 19 people unite with our church by profession of faith and baptism during November alone.”
Maples added, “Vocational evangelists helped our church baptize as many new believers these past months as we would typically baptize in a year.”
Maples concluded, “As Southern Baptists face a steady decline in baptisms, vocational evangelists may be our best untapped resource to reverse this trend and lead our churches to experience exponential growth. I am ashamed to admit that I once shared the sentiment of many pastors today that revivals are a thing of the past and evangelists are not effective in today’s culture, but I have been proven wrong. The fact is our vocational evangelists are leading thousands to faith in Christ every year.”
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