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Everyday Evangelism

Pastor Michael Wood believes sharing the gospel is as essential as breathing.

Evangelism is at the heart of everything Michael Eugene Wood does. From the people he passes on the street to the cashier at the store, he sees every individual as a soul in need of salvation. Many of his conversations begin with a question: “I’m endeavoring to talk about Jesus wherever I go; do you have a relationship with Him?”

His passion for evangelism is contagious. His wife of 20 years, Jocelyn, has learned from her husband’s approach.

“Growing up, never did I fathom the idea of just approaching strangers as a witness of Jesus Christ,” Jocelyn says. “Now, there are very few places I go that I don’t have a prompting of the Holy Spirit to go speak to someone. Taking the mission of Jesus Christ outside the church has helped me grow more than anything.” The couple’s daughters, 16-year-old Truly and 11-year-old Charity, bring that same evangelistic approach to their own lives, sharing the gospel with peers at school.

Many congregants where Wood pastors — Compel City Church in Douglasville, Georgia — are similarly enthusiastic about winning souls. The predominantly Black congregation keeps evangelism at its core. Each year, the church sets a goal of how many people they hope to reach. Over the past six years, the congregation has consistently met and surpassed those goals.

For Wood, church is about equipping people to get outside the four walls of the building and evangelize to the lost.

“I train disciples on the inside and I emphasize soul-winning on the outside,” says Wood, 50. “Delivering people from demons, praying for the sick, getting people saved — we do all of that outside the building. Having a building is just a bonus.”

Wood is a bivocational pastor, with another job at a telecommunications company. Jocelyn is employed as a special education elementary school teacher during the week.

Marques Pedescleaux says joining Compel City has been transformational.

“Pastor Mike creates an atmosphere where being in sin is no longer tolerable,” says Pedescleaux, 37. “It forced me to grow and get closer to God authentically.”

As the youth pastor, Pedescleaux is responsible for discipling the young people at Compel City. Because kids spend only a few hours a week at church, Pedescleaux believes that the most powerful way for them to come to Christ is through experiencing the holy lives of their parents: reading Scripture daily, regular prayer, and setting Christ-centered visions for his household.

Compel City Church is part of the National Black Fellowship of the Assemblies of God, a group that develops and empowers African American leaders to plant churches and carry out biblical justice. Wood is serving as interim southern region director for NBF.

Wood says the NBF helped him appreciate the Assemblies of God.

“The National Black Fellowship helped me feel comfortable within the AG denomination,” Mike says. “When I didn’t see people around that look like me, it was intimidating. NBF is a way to bring the Black people together, to create a synergy to support districts.”

Melissa Schill Penney

Melissa Schill Penney is a freelance writer and graduate of Wheaton College, residing in the Chicago area.