Evangelism is a part of the fabric of the Estes church. The congregation itself was the result of the evangelistic outreach efforts of others. For the first fifty years of its existence, its evangelistic energy was devoted primarily to local outreach, as it grew from a handful of members to more than 200. However, short-term evangelistic efforts to assist new or struggling churches in other parts of the United States became more common after the move into the current building in the 1960s.
In the fall of 1981, the elders finalized plans to fully support a domestic mission point and Independence, Virginia, was chosen as the site. In the first six months of this work, five people were baptized into Christ, and two members were restored. Other domestic campaigns have included St. Louis, Missouri; Elkhart, Indiana; and Kittaning, Pennsylvania. These efforts not only strengthen the congregations where they are conducted, but also the Estes members who have taken part.
In 1980, Norman Hogan became the preacher for the Estes church. Brother Hogan’s interest in foreign missions helped stimulate a growing interest in world evangelism. Foreign campaigns to Dunoon, Scotland; Ekaterinburg, Russia; Wanganui, New Zealand; and other destinations involved many Estes members. In more recent years, Estes has supported many of its members in short-term campaigns in places like Haiti and Peru. We also support dozens of Freed-Hardeman students as they participate in campaigns around the world each year.
In September 1984 Paddy Boyns, an Englishman, was commissioned by the Estes church to begin full-time work with the church in Dunoon, Scotland. This began Estes’ support of full-time missionaries. This emphasis has continued to grow as we have become involved on a long-term basis with mission works in Dundee, Scotland, Peterborough, England, Ekaterinburg, Russia, Cape Town, South Africa, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Port au Prince, Haiti, Wanganui and Porirua, New Zealand, Cusco, Peru, and Bangkok, Thailand.
Obviously, evangelism is central to the mission of the church. For the last ten years, between 35 and 45 percent of the Estes budget has been devoted to missions. This represents a priority that will keep our congregation strong and healthy for many years to come. May God be glorified as people around the world are led to Christ.
Dr. Steve Johnson