at lunch By Annette Bender
Ronnie Collins has only been part of the United Methodist Church for three years, but heʼs already won the Denman Evangelism Award and is concerned about the denominationʼs future.
I had a pastor tell me recently that never, in eight years, did anybody in his charge get saved.
That just bothered me, Collins said recently over chimichangas in a Hillsville, Va. restaurant.
I believe our denomination is dying. I think weʼve lost that zeal to go out and evangelize.
Weʼre waiting for them to come to us, when we need to go to them. Although he realizes that some United Methodists are hesitant about the word .evangelism,ʼ the former Baptist youth minister is anything but hesitant about speaking up for his faith. .Iʼm a fanatic for Jesus,. he admits.
In the last two years at First Hillsville United Methodist Church, Collins has trained 30 church members to visit homes and share their faith. In more than 300 home visits, 98 professions of faith have been witnessed. Last fall, Collins also trained four Wytheville District clergy members in the program known as Evangelism Explosion
Ronnieʼs greatest passion is reaching the unsaved with the Gospel,. the Rev. Ramon Torres wrote in a letter of nomination for the 2004 Denman Award for Laity. .Because of what he is doing in our church, men, women and youth are becoming bold witnesses. Collins accepted the Denman Award at last yearʼs Holston Annual Conference.
Unwinding after Sunday worship in a Mexican restaurant, the 39-year-old marathon runner talks about his path to First Hillsville. His 19-year-old son, Michael, whom he adopted three years ago from Joy Ranch Home for Children, listens at his fatherʼs side, enjoying the chips and salsa.
A single parent, Collins raised two other sons before Michael came along. His sister was killed in 1989 by her second husband, leaving two boys behind. Today, Collinsʼ nephews are 21 and 24. Collins worked at hotels and as a youth minister until he became director of development at Joy Ranch. He became executive director in 1999. Three years ago, Collins and son began looking for a church that was closer to home. Collins knew Torres, Hillsvilleʼs former pastor, from Rotary meetings. However, he initially resisted Torresʼ invitations to visit the local United Methodist church. Finally, the pastor told him, .Youʼre afraid to come to First Church because youʼre afraid youʼll like it.. Collins laughs at the memory. He was right. It was a dare. So we went the next Sunday, and weʼve been there ever since.. He says he was impressed by the congregationʼs outreach ministries and welcoming nature.
On Jan. 28, Collins left Joy Ranch to become full-time Ministry Coordinator at First Hillsville. He is attending Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and beginning the process of becoming an ordained deacon. His dream is to expand his evangelism teachings beyond Wytheville District and into Holston Conference. I donʼt know if I want to preach to the churches as much as equip the churches,. he says. .Itʼs the pastorʼs job to equip his or her people to go out and win the lost. But itʼs not happening..
Annette Bender is editor of The Call, available at
firstname.lastname@example.org or (865) 690-4080. ■
I started this book last night and man I just wanted to stay up all night and read but I was really tired so I picked it back up this morning. I recommended another little book yesterday and I can already recommend this one and I haven’t finished it yet. Great teaching from the heart of Pastor Ronnie Floyd who has completed 5 forty day fasts at the time of the book in 2009.
I slept less last night and from what I have experienced in previous fasts, the hours of sleep will become less as I go along. It is my understanding that I will need less sleep after a time of extended fasting. Today has been a great day. I have spent most of the day reading this book as well as working on my Sunday Night Live Sermon. I was able to take a short nap this afternoon. Tonight we went to dinner with my mom and dad, I only had my water and even though I wanted to eat, I still have not been hungry.
I have an overall feeling of wellness. As we were driving to town it dawned on me that my body felt at rest. It was a great feeling. As I have said in previous fasts, I hope to eat better when I do return to regular eating.
I am starting to see things in scripture that I have not seen before. In my time of study it just seems that my mind is more clear. I love the way I am feeling and I am still amazed at the power food has over us. I read a couple of days ago that a healthy adult man could live 50 to 75 days on nothing but water without any physical damage, wow.
My prayers haven’t changed, I am praying and fasting for the souls of 3000 people. My prayer is that between February 23rd, 2010 and Pentecost Sunday May 23rd, 2010 that 3000 people will be saved and baptized in Holston Conference.
I have been encouraged by quite a few people who are fasting in some way with me. I know of one other pastor in Holston that is fasting the entire 40 days with me. There are some adults in Hillsville that started when I did and will fast an entire week and then others who plan to do their week during my fast so that someone is nearby fasting the entire 40 days along with me. One of the amazing things is the number of youth who are fasting in different ways with me over the 40 days. Some are fasting 2 meals a day and then the final week and others are doing fasts from 1 to 3 days.
I believe this is a fast that God has called me to and my desire to see 3000 saved by Pentecost May 23rd is greater than my desire to eat. I appreciate your prayers for me but most of all for the 3000.
This is my 5th day of fasting, 35 to go.
PS, there have been many people asking questions about my fast and a friend sent me this video. As I go through the 40 days I will blog about what God is showing me in scripture as well as answering questions that people may have.
Enjoy the video.
The Skinny on Fasting
February 23, 2010
I am told that we begin this decade having celebrated together the personal evangelism and ministry of some 2,255 United Methodist Clergy and Laity who the members of the Annual Conferences have recognized as Harry Denman Evangelism Award recipients.
The Foundation for Evangelism remains committed to raising up generations of leaders with a passion for evangelism. In recognition of the amazing witness of youth and young adults in the life of The United Methodist Church, this year the Foundation has instituted The Harry Denman Youth Evangelism Award. This award is established not only to lift up the work of these young people but with the hope that they may answer the call to full-time Christian service.
The Foundation for Evangelism is privileged to work with each Annual Conference to sponsor this prestigious award. We are so appreciative of your efforts to encourage the selection and recognition of persons who use their exceptional leadership skills to help others experience God’s transforming love through Jesus Christ.
The Harry Denman Evangelism Award nomination materials are available for download on the Foundation website (www.FoundationForEvangelism.org). An email containing pertinent information and links to resources has been sent to contact persons at each annual conference.
Will you join me in promoting the selection of a youth, lay and clergy Harry Denman Evangelism Awardees in each Annual Conference? Let us celebrate together those persons who so willingly and effectively answer the call to Offer Them Christ.
If there is a person responsible for this process with whom you would like the Foundation to work, they may contact Dianne Collins at 800-737-8333 (or email to dcollins@FoundationForEvangelism.org).
Thank you for your partnership as we rejoice for the efforts of United Methodist leaders who have a passion for evangelism.
Yours in Christ,
William W. Hutchinson
Day 5 – February 27, 2010
“I remember Harry Denman as always warm, open, friendly. He had a view of evangelism that was
anything but narrow. While he subscribed to most of the traditional methods of evangelism –
including revivals and personal witness – he was open to many other methods, some new and
experimental.” (Prophetic Evangelist: The Living Legacy of Harry Denman, 1993)
New and experimental ways of evangelism
I work with a group of teens today who have challenged every concept I have ever had concerning
evangelism. They certainly want to hear about Jesus Christ, and they even desire to be part of the church
of today. However, they do things differently than most in the church world have ever done them.
When it comes to communication, they do it differently. They don’t talk on the phone so much anymore;
they text message each other, even if they are sitting in the same room, often sitting on the same piece of
furniture. I have even found myself texting with them while in the same room. It offers a degree of
privacy while staying in the group.
Facebook and Myspace are two of the communication tools of choice with the teens of today and, by the
way, the generation of people 50 years old and above are also coming to use these tools in huge numbers.
E-mail is passé with the youth of today; they just don’t use it. Communication with the youth of today
needs to be in short bites, a text message; in video format, such as Youtube; in music they can download
from the web, such as itunes; in becoming their friend on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace.
It is time that we as the church embrace the methods necessary to communicate the gospel to the youth of
today, without changing the message in any way. Take the time over the next days and weeks to get to
know the youth around you, in your community, in your own church, through the media of social
networking sites. You may just find they are open and receptive to coming to visit your church and, better
yet, they will come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Jesus taught people in many different places at different times. He taught in the synagogues, out in
the open, while moving along the shore in a boat. Jesus never changed the message but he took the
message to where the people were.
Luke 5: 1-3 (NLT)
One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to
listen to the word of God. 2 He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left
them and were washing their nets. 3 Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push
it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there.
Lord, like Jesus, John Wesley, and Harry Denman before us, let’s take the gospel to where the people are.
Submitted by: Rev. Ronnie G. Collins
Jesus Greater Than Moses
1 Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. 2 He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. 3 Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. 4 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 5 “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,” [a] bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. 6 But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.
Warning Against Unbelief
7 So, as the Holy Spirit says:
“Today, if you hear his voice,
8 do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion,
during the time of testing in the wilderness,
9 where your ancestors tested and tried me,
though for forty years they saw what I did.
10 That is why I was angry with that generation;
I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray,
and they have not known my ways.’
11 So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” [b]
12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold firmly till the end our original conviction. 15 As has just been said:
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion.” [c]
16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.
A Sabbath-Rest for the People of God
1 Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2 For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. [d] 3 Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,
“So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” [e]
And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. 4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his work.” [f] 5 And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”
6 Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience, 7 God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted:
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.” [g]
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for those who enter God’s rest also rest from their own work, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.
12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Jesus the Great High Priest
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, [h] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
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