“What if we were to recapture the idea of evangelism driven by passionate, spirit-filled lay people?” This is the question posed by David Paczka, Oregon Conference director of Hispanic ministries back in 2017. From that question, the Give Me Five Initiative was born. The concept was simple: motivate and encourage lay members in Oregon Hispanic churches to take the lead in local evangelism by leading small groups in discipleship. “Give Me Five” became the coordinating prayer, “Give me five people that the Spirit can lead to the kingdom through me.”
A year later 40 lay members, “GiveMe5s,” traveled together on a tour of the Holy Land, experiencing training and inspiration while walking in the “footsteps of Jesus.” The theme continued on November 17, 2018, when Hispanic churches across the conference celebrated special baptismal services in which local elders were intentionally empowered to baptize new believers. In the last two months of 2018, 53 people joined the Adventist Church in Oregon because of “GiveMe5s” with many more to come this year.
The “Give Me Five” initiative will continue as a cornerstone of the long-term evangelistic strategy of Hispanic ministries. Interested lay people who want to become a “GiveMe5” can receive training through the conference Hispanic ministries department to be an active part of their church’s evangelism team.
Yet at the heart of the initiative is a simple prayer that any of us can pray. “Lord, give me five people that the Spirit can lead into Your Kingdom through me.”