Good Soil Evangelism and Discipleship is a ministry of ABWE – the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism. www.abwe.org

Good Soil Evangelism and Discipleship (E&D) began in 2005 in order to equip ABWE missionaries for worldview relevant evangelism and discipleship in a broad range of cross-cultural settings, throughout North America and around the world. Soon after Good Soil began, pastors and other leaders from North American churches and missionaries from other mission agencies began to be interested in Good Soil training and resources. And we have always welcomed these opportunities to share Good Soil training with theologically like-minded churches and other ministry organizations.  As a result of this interest from many churches and other parachurch ministries, our vision for Good Soil has broadened to embrace a wider array of worldview relevant ministry opportunities.

Currently, Good Soil training and resources are being used in many countries by North American missionaries representing numerous mission agencies.  But some of the greatest impact worldwide is being accomplished through (not-North American) national believers who utilize Good Soil training and resources through their own initiatives.


Our Leadership

Wayne Haston

Executive Training Director (Retired)

Wayne grew up in the middle Tennessee town of Sparta, where he graduated from high school in 1965.  In 1966 he enrolled in Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, majoring in Bible and English.

In July of 1970, Wayne married Sharon McCoy. Sharon grew up as a missionary kid (MK) in Costa Rica and Mexico.

After their marriage, Wayne continued his studies, at the Temple Baptist Seminary of Chattanooga where he earned Master of Religious Education, Master of Divinity, and Doctor of Religious Education degrees. 

Local church ministry was a major part of Wayne’s life from 1966-1995.  During his college years, he served as an assistant to the pastor of his home church in Sparta.  From 1970-1979, he was youth pastor of the Franklin Road Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, TN.  During the years of 1979-1995, Wayne served as the Christian Education Director of the Grace Baptist Church in Chattanooga.

In the fall of 1973, Tennessee Temple University and Temple Baptist Seminary invited Wayne to join their faculties as a full-time teacher.  In 1975 he became the seminary’s Chairman of Christian Education, which position he filled for the next twenty years.

In 1995, Wayne joined the staff of ABWE as the Director of ABWE Media Ministries. Having completed his course work for a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Tennessee, Wayne completed his dissertation 1997 after joining ABWE. 

In 2001, Wayne was asked to assume the role of ABWE’s International Training Director.  He continued in that role until May 2015, at which time he semi-retired.  He continues to serve in ABWE, primarily focusing on Good Soil Evangelism and Discipleship training and resource development.

Wayne has produced several published works, including the Youth Worker’s Training Course, and Philosophy of Christian Education, both self-study courses. He also published Christian Philosophy of Life, a video course, and Adult Sunday School Ministry: The Dynamics of Successful Classes.  He co-authored The Story of Hope, The Way to Joy, The Roots of Faith and other resources for Good Soil Evangelism and Discipleship.  He has trained missionaries and national believers in about 30 countries.

Wayne and Sharon reside in New Cumberland, PA, and have three daughters (Faith, Carissa, & Celeste), two sons-in-law (Ben & John), and seven grandchildren (Kyrie, Davis, Katrina, Truett, Nolan, Ezri, & Ember).


Gil Thomas

International Director of Good Soil Evangelism and Discipleship Ministries

Gil grew up attending Bethel Baptist Church in Erie, Pennsylvania, and at the age of 12 trusted Christ as Savior. Filled immediately with desired to serve Him, Gil worked for six years at Bethany Baptist Camp in western New York, serving as junior counselor, dishwasher, program director, lifeguard and finally as the assistant director. It was there that his love for ministry was born and cultivated, which led him to Baptist Bible College in Pennsylvania.

Gil was heavily involved in music while at BBC. He sang in the Concert Choir, Chamber Singers and also playing and singing in the Collegians Brass Quintet. After his sophomore year, he spent a year away from school, traveling with the Quintet. During that year God impressed upon him the need for church planting, so when he returned to school he majored in missions. During his last two years, Gil served as part-time pastor of youth and music in Binghamton.

After graduation in 1982, Gil served as an interim pastor for seven months before going to Grand Rapids, MI, where he studied at the Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary, and then entered the Calvary Baptist School of Church Ministries. It was at Calvary that Gil met Denise and they were married in 1983. 

After the year-long internship at Calvary, Gil and Denise joined ABWE in 1984. They began their first term of missionary service in 1986. During the next 23 years, Gil was integrally involved in starting 4 churches in Portugal and served as the Team Leader 14 of those years. He helped to start GDL (Leadership Development Group, ABWE’s Bible and Pastoral Training Schools in Portugal), served as chairman of its board and taught several classes. Also during his service in Portugal, Gil helped to train missionaries in European countries. During his time as a missionary, Gil received a Master of Ministry degree, graduating with highest honors.

From its inception in 2004, Gil has been involved in the Core Ministries Institute of ABWE; planning curriculum, teaching, and administering. In 2008, Gil brought his experience in working with teams and training missionaries to Good Soil Evangelism and Discipleship.  

As the International Director of Good Soil Ministries, he trains people all over the world and develops evangelism and discipleship resources. Two of his books are Gaining Ground with Good Soil and Reflections from God’s Story of Hope. He received a Doctorate of Ministry in Leadership Training from Clarks Summit University in 2016.

 

 


Eight Essential Good Soil Evangelism and Discipleship Distinctives

Biblical and Theological Foundation

  • GSED leaders continue to deepen our Biblical and theological roots
  • Continue to expose our resources to Biblical and theological critique

Worldview Relevance

  • GSED leaders continue to deepen our worldviews understanding
  • Apply worldview thinking to training and resource development
  • Continue to expose our resources to critique of worldview expertise

Priority Baseline of Transferable Training

  • Emphasize the priority of training
  • Explore ways to expand our training-reach
  • Expand our pool of Master Trainers

Focused (Understand-Embrace-Retain) Resource Development

  • Maintain our focus on the main things: U-E-R
  • Matthew 13:23 – Understands the Gospel
  • Mark 4:20 – Embraces the Gospel
  • Luke 8:15 – Retains the Gospel

Selective Niche Marketing, Guerrilla Style

  • Select target-niches where GSED is most needed
  • Strategically and selectively choose where to invest marketing funds
  • Be alert to and take advantage of inexpensive marketing opportunities

Double Vision with a Single Focus

  • International – don’t get sidetracked from our original purpose
  • North America – don’t lose sight of our opportunities to help North American believers and churches

Missional-Business Balance

  • Develop and follow sound business practices
  • But don’t let business overshadow missions
  • Balance what we give away and what we sell
  • Establish price points based on cultural economic realities

Professional Excellence (with a missional motive)

  • Standard = don’t let quality issues become an obstacle to reaching elite professionals in any field
  • Guiding question = How will Good Soil be viewed and received by professional educators and trainers, theologians, designers, musicians, artists, videographers, etc.?

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