Dalraida church focuses on informing members, involving them in ministrycomment (0)
July 17, 2003
By Johnie Sentell
Rick Evans, pastor of Dalraida Baptist Church in Montgomery, first accepted a call into full-time ministry the day someone aimed a gun at him. Until then Evans felt he could fulfill God’s claims through bivocational ministry.
“I already understood God’s call on my life,” he said. “I had surrendered to the ministry at age 17.”
After several years in the military, he was serving in part-time ministry as well as being collections manager for a finance company. One day Evans was out visiting for the company and an angry man pointed a .45 revolver at him. When Evans got back to his office, he prayed, “Lord, I am willing to go wherever you want me to go and do whatever you want me to do.”
In less than half an hour Pastor James Underwood of Prattmont Baptist Church, Prattville, called to ask him to be the church’s first full-time minister of music and youth.
“They took a step of faith, and we did too,” Evans said. “It was a cut in pay, since I previously had two jobs.”
Born in Tifton, Ga., Evans received his undergraduate degree at Troy State University and attended Beeson Divinity School two years.
He spent seven years in the Air Force, which sent him to Montgomery. There he met and married Melanie Adamson.
The Evanses have three children: Amy Scott of Dothan, Michael Evans, minister of music at Union Hill Baptist Church in Oneonta, and Heather Evans, a student at the University of Mobile. In the 1990s the entire family spent five years on the road in preaching and music evangelism, mainly doing revivals and concerts in the Southeast.
“We got to be with some interesting people,” Evans said, “like George Beverly Shea and Kurt Kaiser ... and Dan Quayle. We even witnessed the first time he gave his Christian testimony.”
Evans’ first pastorate was Enon Baptist Church near Montevallo. After nine years at Enon, Evans spent more than three years as pastor of Selma Baptist Church, Dothan, and was staff evangelist there during the family’s five years on the road.
Evans was called as pastor of Dalraida in July 1999. “It is a wonderful place to minister,” he said. “God is blessing in so many ways.
“Baptisms have been over 50 for the last couple of years,” he said. “There is wonderful fellowship here. And the ability of the people to express their love is wonderful. We have completed three semesters of FAITH. We have more than 100 people trained. It has made such a difference in their lifestyle witnessing.”
A youth group from Dalraida went to Ohio last month and led 88 people to the Lord in door-to-door witnessing as part of evangelist Kelly Green’s ministry, Frontliners.
Evans said the church’s staff members have “a heart for ministry and a love for God’s people.”
He noted Dalraida is a pilot church for a new ministry offered by LifeWay and said the assigned consultant helped the church go from a “closed group concept of Sunday School to an open enrollment and effective outreach ministry.”
Evans said this has been done by restructuring Sunday School so every person is involved in some kind of ministry — caring groups, outreach and fellowship teams.
“We changed our church structure from a committee-led church to a ministry team concept,” Evans said. “We now understand that committees make decisions, but ministry teams involve themselves in getting the work done. That has made a big difference. Our people are excited,” he said.
Evans also noted that the church’s ministry has become more community oriented. Starting four years ago Dalraida has had a Family Fun Day on the Sunday before Vacation Bible School (VBS) starts. In addition to things children enjoy, there is an evangelistic part as FAITH teams nonintrusively witness to visitors.
“The first year less than 50 came, but this year we had more than 300,” Evans said. “Since VBS we have continued to have professions of faith as a result of Family Fun Day and VBS, but we don’t push the kids in follow-up. On the Sunday after VBS we had a brunch for the children and their parents where we introduced them to their Sunday School classes.”
Dalraida furnishes The Alabama Baptist to every family in the church.
“Informed people are the easiest people to lead,” Evans said. “If they know what’s going on and why you need to do it, most of your obstacles are over. In The Alabama Baptist our people can read about events that will impact them and their children that they would not find out about otherwise. Time does not permit us to make all of that information available during the worship service. I trust our people in their spiritual growth to make proper judgments.
“Our people read the feature articles as well as the editorials,” he said. “They help us understand how God is working through our sister churches so we may become more open to what He is trying to accomplish through us.”
Since October 1999 Dalraida has been using the local edition service of The Alabama Baptist to deliver the church’s newsletter every week.
“We previously had been sending out a monthly church newsletter,” Evans said. “With a weekly newsletter, our news is fresher now.”
He noted, “It is very economical for us to use The Alabama Baptist for our news. We were already sending the paper to some of our families, a very limited number. Adding the rest of our families to the subscription list and using a page in the paper every week costs us less than it did to send out the monthly newsletter.”
Evans mentioned another benefit: “The paper is folded so the church page is on the outside. Our people don’t have to search for it.”
Dalraida member and church secretary Kathy Watson prepares the newsletter each week. She said, “It is pleasant working with The Alabama Baptist. And I am usually finished by noon on Monday.
“I would really encourage any church to consider this,” she said. “Compared with the manual labor of bulk mailings, the convenience of doing this by e-mail is much easier.”
Watson said she has been a faithful reader of The Alabama Baptist for more than 20 years, “and I practically read it from the front to the back. I already had a good impression of The Alabama Baptist. This has reinforced my impression.”
But don’t ask Watson if the arrangement makes her job easier.
“I consider my work as a ministry more than a job,” she said. That’s a normal attitude at Dalraida Baptist Church.