Back Kauppila ABS Class shares Jesus without fear
November 5th, 2009
We see it happen again and again—but, now, it's becoming an increasingly reoccurring theme in and through our church family. People are getting to know Jesus. And, not just that, but they are walking closely with Him in life. Such is the case with the Kauppila Adult Bible Study class for young married adults that meets every Sunday at 11:00 a.m.
Jeff Kauppila, the class teacher, said, "It started a while ago actually. We took a class survey. We asked them, 'How does a person get saved? If you were to die, do you know if you'd go to heaven?' A larger than expected number of the folks were either unsure about their salvation or answered, 'No.'"
Jeff and his wife, Amy, were concerned by the results and began praying about evangelism within their own class as well as outside the church. The class decided to go through the book Share Jesus without Fear.
"We told them about the survey and were very intentional about sharing the gospel with them and giving them an opportunity to respond," Jeff said.
After starting the book, one young man in the class, Matt, approached Jeff and said he and his wife were getting ready to start a family. He was impacted by what he was learning through the book and said he was ready to affirm his belief in Christ and follow Him as a result.
"Outwardly, my life is probably similar to what it was before this decision," Matt said. "But, inwardly, I feel a stronger faith, knowing that my decision was made as an adult, with the sole desire to get in a right standing with God. Socially, we had a lot of fun at Sunday School, but if you miss the relationship with God, then it's all for nothing."
Since then, one other man in the class, Steven, sent Jeff an e-mail and said, "I used to be one of those people who was unsure, but I'm confident now."
"I gave my life completely to Christ making Him both my Lord and Savior," Steven said. "I dove into His Word daily, and things in the Bible and in my life began to make more sense. It wasn't about me, but about God and the need to go and seek out and save those who are lost."
"It's been amazing to see the change in Steven's life, marriage, and relationships with co-workers and friends," Jeff said. "He's now the highest attender and feels called to ministry. He's recently led a co-worker to Christ and she has also started sharing Christ with others in her own hometown."
Because of this study, other members have also been emboldened to move beyond the walls of Brentwood Baptist and share their faith with others.
"One of the women in our class had this kind of experience," Jeff said. "When she was younger, her friend passed away, but she's still close with his mom today. She had the opportunity to go and visit with her, and she shared with gospel. Her friend's mom prayed to receive Christ!"
The class has taken the principles they discovered in this book beyond their several-week study. They continue to make this approach of sharing Jesus with others where they live, work, and play a consistent focus.
"During the Great Day of Service last year, we went and washed windows for a widow in Franklin," Jeff said. "She had a hard time accepting it as a free gift and wanted to pay us. Through the course of our conversation, I started to get the sense that she didn't have a relationship with Christ. One of the girls in our group shared Christ with her, and that 82-year-old widow came to know the Lord that day."
Another girl in the class had two friends with whom she grew up with and was very close but rarely had conversations about her faith. They came to visit her and she boldly shared the gospel with them, finding out that one is agnostic and the other is atheist. Since then, she's openly told them about what she believes and why she believes it.
Jeff Gardner, another class member, said, "One of the best places that God has led my wife and I is to our Adult Bible Study group here at Brentwood Baptist. ... Through knowledgeable, nurturing leadership and purposeful studies like Share Jesus Without Fear and MasterLife, we've grown exponentially in our faith and Christian walk. We've developed daily Bible study habits and rooted our lives more deeply in Christ than we've ever been. I, personally, have been transformed to a level of discipleship that has enabled me to recognize opportunities to share Jesus with others that I, no doubt, would have missed or been reluctant to do before."
"God has used this book to help make a lot of life changes for folks," Jeff Kauppila said. "There are a lot of people in church every Sunday who have never made a decision. We walk by and miss those opportunities to be intention about sharing. We don't realize we may be sitting next to someone who truly doesn't know Christ. It broke my heart as a teacher that there were people in my class who didn't know Him. It was a good wake-up call for all of us."
Story by Kaylan Christopher
Photo by Joe Hendricks