It was May 1997 when Campus Crusade for Christ first approached the director of the Church of the Nazarene's World Mission Department about partnering with them to show the Jesus Film to lost people around the world.
Since then, 9,018,540 individuals have made decisions for Christ through the ministry teams of Jesus Film Harvest Partners (JFHP), the ministry established by the denomination's World Mission Department under the direction of department director Dr. Louie Bustle.
"Dr. Bustle saw the strategic opportunity such a partnership offered and a historic partnership was forged at the Campus Crusade Jesus Film Project offices in San Clemente, California in August of 1997," recalled JFHP.
The partnership made the Church of the Nazarene – a member of the National Association of Evangelicals and the World Methodist Council – the first denomination to base their main strategy for evangelism on the Jesus Film, the two-hour docudrama produced by CCC's Jesus Film Project in 1979. Based on the Gospel of Luke, the Jesus Film captures the life of Jesus Christ and is today the most translated and widely distributed film in history.
"Over the last 11 years, team members have shared thousands of stories of triumph from across the globe," JFHP reported this month. "These stories tell of answers to decade-old prayers, freedom from witchcraft, understanding the love of Christ, salvation following persecution, release from addictions, and hope to the dying, among many others."
The ministry currently has approximately 360 teams around the world sharing the story of Jesus through the Jesus Film, with each team comprised of three to five nationals who know the language and the customs of the people.
"The teams travel in assigned geographic areas to show the film, lead the lost to Christ, follow-up with new believers, and before leaving the area, organize new mission churches where believers gather for regular fellowship," JFHP explains.
Over a three-year period, the average film team reportedly makes 135,000 evangelistic contacts, with up to 15,000 people indicating decisions to accept Christ and 5,700 of these participating in initial discipleship.
The partnership with CCC has been touted by the Church of the Nazarene as one of the most effective evangelistic strategies it has ever undertaken.
Aside from the 9 million decisions for Christ that the ministry has recorded, JFHP also reports making 50,914,249 evangelistic contacts, setting up 18,056 mission churches and preaching points, and training over 14,000 pastors from January 1998 through Feb. 11, 2009.
By 2010, the ministry hopes to record its first 10 million decisions for Christ.