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New Life Assembly -- a Church with a Spirit of Evangelism

Pastor Maria Khaleel believes evangelism should be a priority for every Christian — and she lives what she preaches.
New Life Assembly of God in Pembroke Pines, Florida, has an in-person congregation of about 350 people who not only believe in evangelism, but live it out — as inspired by their pastor, Maria Khaleel.

In 2023, New Life saw well over 300 individuals make a commitment to Christ at the church altar. In addition, more than 500 people prayed to receive Christ during New Life's evangelism team's weekly door-to-door and shopping center outings, and from the personal evangelism efforts of the team members.

Although New Life is blessed to be in a populous location — roughly 20 miles north of Miami — and has a larger-than-most congregation, the statistics break down to nearly three people hearing the Spirit-inspired gospel message and turning their lives over to Christ for every one congregant. And those who make a decision for Christ and choose to provide contact information, receive follow-up contacts.

“Evangelism is not a program of the church or an addendum, it’s the reason we exist,” states Khaleel, who founded the multicultural church in 1992.

Khaleel, who points to Christ and how everything He did was about bringing people into relationship with God, says, “It’s God at work in and through us, but certain things help create a culture of evangelism in our congregation as I believe it’s every believer’s responsibility to reach the lost.”

Part of the church’s vision statement and model of ministry is based on the Great Commission.

“There are four marks of people growing in faith,” she says. “The first is they love God, next they love and connect with the body of Christ, then they become involved in serving in ministry, and that is followed by evangelism — reaching the lost.”

Ike Obi, who is the evangelism coordinator for New Life, says the passion for evangelism comes from the top down, as Khaleel not only preaches on evangelism, she also brings in people to train teams in evangelism and she personally participates in evangelism outreaches.

“She gives volunteers ownership of ministries,” Obi says. “So, when she comes out to our Saturate Saturday events or door-to-door outreaches, she comes as a congregation member and I assign her to a team. Members of the church see she is serious about what she’s speaking from the pulpit and its compelling, helping to create a culture of evangelism.”

Obi, who on his own initiative — to the delight of Khaleel — started an online Share Jesus Club that meets by Zoom every Monday evening.

“We start by asking participants about their evangelism encounters for the week, what they did, how did it go, and discuss thoughts about ways to possibly improve a similar encounter — just exchanging ideas for the first 30 minutes,” Obi says. “The last hour, we read and discuss books that help in personal evangelism. But it’s important to note that it’s the Holy Spirit working in and through us who makes the outings we do successful.”

Khaleel shares about how one woman in the church, who has embraced personal evangelism, turned her ride sharing job into a gospel opportunity.

“In the past two years, she has led 400 people to Christ,” Khaleel says. “She picks them up and by the time she drops them off, they’re praying for salvation!”

Another effective evangelism tool, among others, New Life uses is the 30-60-90 campaign.

“We ask people to identify three people they personally know who don’t know Christ and pray for them for 30 days,” Obi says. “Then we ask that the following 30 days, to bless those people through acts of kindness. And finally, during the final 30 days, invite them to church.”

What may go by unnoticed through this type of relationship evangelism is how prayer not only changes others’ lives, but it also impacts the lives of those praying. Through the 30-60-90 approach — although the ultimate outcome is a desire for others to have the “vertical” relationship with Christ — investing in others’ lives for three months often brings about the “horizontal” relationships as well.

“We believe in the moving of the Spirit, so everybody we encounter during the day is a prospect for the gospel message,” Obi says. “. . . everywhere you go and everything you do becomes a forum for you to minister the gospel.”

Obi also points back to Kahleel, noting how although she preaches on a wide variety of topics, she weaves evangelism into the message.

“But more importance is placed on people giving their lives to Christ,” he says. “Whatever she preaches on — family, love, healing, whatever it may be — she explains that in order to start the journey, it starts first with having a relationship with Christ.”

“Evangelism has to be in every fiber of the church and interlaced in everything we do,” Khaleel reflects. “And when you do that, you get a church with a spirit of evangelism.”

Dan Van Veen

Dan Van Veen is news editor of AG News. Prior to transitioning to AG News in 2001, Van Veen served as managing editor of AG U.S. Missions American Horizon magazine for five years. He attends Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri, where he and his wife, Lori, teach preschool Sunday School and 4- and 5-year-old Rainbows boys and girls on Wednesdays.