Shadow Empire Series Impacts the Northwest
In today’s media-saturated, on-demand landscape, many people wonder if evangelism still works. With all the choices people have at home, is it even possible to get them to walk through the doors of a church?
From April 28 to 30, the Voice of Prophecy’s Shadow Empire series revealed the answer is a clear “yes!” Hundreds of churches across North America — including many in the North Pacific Union Conference — held this four-part event, which focused on the compelling life of Constantine and his continued impact on religious liberty today.
In addition to documentary-style segments featuring Shawn Boostra, Voice of Prophecy speaker and director, half of the program was led by the local pastor, which enabled guests to get to know their local church and register for follow-up Bible studies.
“Even though this was a seed-sowing event, some churches have already seen amazing results, including baptisms,” reports Boonstra. “It worked because it truly engaged at the individual church level — combining the local with the national and the historical with the topical. People couldn’t help but be intrigued by the content.”
The Voice of Prophecy wanted to ensure high production values for this series, so the team captured ultra-high-definition aerial footage, and Boonstra taped his segments on location in countries such as Serbia, Turkey and Italy. He was even granted access to an active dig site where archeologists are unearthing what is believed to be one of Constantine’s homes.
Through a partnership with SermonView, an evangelism marketing ministry in Vancouver, Wash., hosts had access to a range of effective promotional resources, including direct mail and social media. And through the use of the series’ accompanying book, Shadow Emperor, and Shadow Empire Bible lessons, attendees received additional resources for deeper study.
Here are just a few of the reactions from NPUC church members and pastors:
“The content was interesting and meaningful," says Shirlene Stahl from the Irrigon (Ore.) Church. "The history was well-told. We are a small church with limited resources, and Shadow Empire was well-planned and made it easy for us to do.”
Lyle Arakaki, pastor of the Forest Park Church in Everett, Wash., says he really “appreciated the opportunity Shadow Empire gave the local pastor to have a significant role in each presentation.”
Sylvia Evert from the Inchelium (Wash.) Church adds, “We loved the Shadow Empire event. I will be recommending that all the area churches do this program when it comes back in September. It’s even easier to do than I had anticipated — very relevant to today and very effective.”
“For a long time, I have wanted to be involved in evangelism," explains Traci Carothers, a member of the Pendleton (Ore.) Church. "However, I have no training or experience, nor can I afford time away from my family for some sort of evangelism training. The Voice of Prophecy made it easy for someone with no experience to become fully engaged and involved in reaching out to the community.”
Richard New, pastor of the Oasis Christian Center in Vancouver, Wash., concurs. “Shadow Empire provided an opportunity to reach out to our community in a short and relevant topic — religious freedom — that developed enough interest to get people to attend," he says. "I thought the historical context provided via video helped to fortify the Scripture section that followed. The quality of the presentation and sharing time got a high percentage of our guests to transfer into one of our three study groups. We now have an opportunity to deepen relationships in a home setting as we explore spiritual teachings together.”
Part of this series’ effectiveness was due to the fact it could only be seen in a local church. The Voice of Prophecy has made a commitment to empower and equip local churches for evangelism, and this event is one of many resources the ministry has provided to churches this year. (Pastors can learn more at voplocal.com.)
Due to the overwhelming response to the series and feedback from churches, Shadow Empire will return this fall. From Sept. 15 to 17 — which also happens to coincide with the National Back to Church Weekend — the series will once again be shown exclusively in churches across North America. If your church couldn’t participate the first time around or would like to host it again, your chance is coming. Please have your pastor visit shadowempire.com/event for all the details.