You might think that a church serving a very specific population and located in a place where that population is relatively small would be very challenged to grow. Perhaps you’d be right in most situations, but not when it comes to the First Haitian church in Manchester, New Hampshire. This church, which holds its services in French, puts a great deal of effort into reaching out to a very specific audience— Haitian immigrants or Haitian nationals living in the greater Manchester area. You might ask, How big could that population be? Well, big enough, apparently, because the 40-member church recently concluded an evangelism campaign that resulted in 10 baptisms—a full 25 percent growth for the church this year.
Guy Sajous, the church’s pastor, believes in cyclical evangelism and that everyone in the church should be involved in evangelism. Cyclical evangelism is a process by which a church very deliberately maps out a year-long campaign of reaching out, forming relationships and contacts through a variety of programs and service activities, and then moves to more spiritually-intense activities with their contacts, such as prophecy seminars and Bible studies.
Finally, the culmination of the year-long effort is a reaping event. After that, the church starts the cycle over again, thus the term “cyclical evangelism.” At the Manchester First Haitian church, Sajous has implemented cyclical evangelism. But he has gone even further in trying to engage everyone in his congregation to be involved with evangelism. After all, when you are trying to find Haitians in a large geographic area like Southern New Hampshire, having Haitian members network among the Haitian diaspora is certainly the best (and maybe the only) effective and efficient way to reach the intended audience.
The capstone reaping event—or as the church’s flyers put it, the “Grande Campagne D’Evanglisation”—was held in June and conducted by pastor and evangelist Gary D’Haiti. A compelling speaker, D’Haiti was able to effectively communicate the plan of salvation, Christ’s sacrifice for us, and the shortness of the hours that we have left to work to spread His message. Certainly, it resonated with the members of the diaspora who attended the series and helped move those whom the church had been working with to make a commitment to join the church.
Sajous and his newly-expanded congregation are looking forward to their next cycle of effort and to another harvest in 2020. As such, they join the roughly 20 percent of churches in the Northern New England Conference that are currently practicing cyclical evangelism—up from approximately five percent in 2018.
The conference hopes to have fully one-third of their churches practicing cyclical evangelism by the end of 2020 and Guy Sajous and his congregation have set an excellent example for these churches. After all, if they can find and connect with God’s people in a population as thin on the ground as the Haitian diaspora, then certainly all other Adventist churches can find God’s people in their communities.