Editor's Note: This year, NRB will be recognizing a record number of organizations with the NRB Milestone Award, which is presented each year at the annual NRB Convention in recognition of faithful ministries that have impacted lives for five decades or more. In each weekly edition of NRB Today leading up to the NRB 2013 Convention & Exposition, one of this year's recipients will be spotlighted. This week, we recognize Evangelism Explosion International, which commemorated its silver anniversary this year. Here is their story ....
EE started in 1962 by the late Dr. D. James Kennedy. As a young pastor, Dr. Kennedy watched all his attempts to grow his first congregation go down the tubes. His church attendance dipped. Recalling those difficult times, he said, "Extrapolation made it clear that I had two-and-a-half months of ministry left before I was preaching to only my wife – and she was threatening to go to the Baptist Church down the street!"
Dr. Kennedy called this time the lowest point in his ministry. It was then that a friend and pastor, Kennedy Smartt, invited Dr. Kennedy to assist him in, of all things, a series of evangelistic services in Scottdale, GA. "I who had decimated one church was being asked to ship my technique across state lines. Have plague will travel!" quipped Dr. Kennedy.
During those 10 days of meetings, Dr. Kennedy simply went out with his friend and watched him engage people spiritually. By the end of the meetings, 54 people made professions of faith in Christ. Dr. Kennedy returned to Fort Lauderdale, FL, with the seeds that eventually became Evangelism Explosion. His church began to grow, and grow. In a brief 12-year period, church membership increased from 17 to 2,000.
Realizing that he couldn't do this alone, Dr. Kennedy made witness-training a bedrock of his ministry, utilizing on-the-job training. In 1967, his Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church was singled out as the most rapidly expanding church in America. In 1972, EE was incorporated with its own staff and Board of Directors. As it spread to other countries, EE materials were translated into other languages. By 1984, more training clinics were held overseas than were held in the U.S.
In early 1996, EE was planted in all nations of the world. Materials have been translated into more than 70 different languages and clinics have been held in many nations.
EE has continued to increase exponentially. World-wide in 2010, 1,778 training events were held, more than 55,000 leaders were trained, and more than six million professions of faith in Christ were observed.
Current initiatives include:
• Congress of Nations: A tri-annual global gathering of EE reps world-wide to relevantly shape EE by encouraging and developing indigenous cultural ministries.
• Weavers Training: Training specifically developed to reach aural people groups of the world.
• Global Development Project: Training field workers to work directly with pastors internationally.
• Hope for Kids: Equipping two million kids who are reaching 20 million more for Christ.
• XEE: The “next” EE for the new generation to connect the Gospel with their peers.
• TENT: New training and products for ministry to people of the Islamic culture.
God has seen fit to bless the ministry of EE as it focuses on doing one thing well: Glorify God by equipping believers to multiply in and through local churches world-wide.
The following is a video of Evangelism Explosion International's 50th Anniversary Celebration Banquet:
Published: December 13, 2012