Missouri Baptists are being challenged to distribute God’s Word this year as they engage the lost in servant evangelism projects. Light Up Missouri is GPS+One Million Bibles. The purpose of this two-year phase is to transform communities with God’s Word through servant evangelism. This is being done in days, seasons and moments of service.
Last year about 35 churches, associations and ministries were recruited to engage in distributing nearly 47,000 “Find it Here” New Testaments (NT). The Missouri Baptist Convention and the North American Mission Board partnered on this incredible learning journey.
It is my prayer that their efforts will inspire you, your Sunday School class, your deacons, your pastors, director of missions and godly ministries to action!
“We have experienced a move of God this summer in our church and community,” said Norm Howell, pastor, Skyline, Branson. After distributing 1,000 NTs within three miles of the church, Skyline had at least 25 additions by statement, and baptized 11 adults, two teens, and one child. Howell said, “I believe that the Scripture distribution and visitation by our members has had a significant role in the new growth within our church.”
Tree of Life Church in Kansas City had prayed for 50 souls to be saved, but according to their pastor Jerry Akins, “the Lord sent us 50 more.” The church engaged in a Season of Service in the form of a feeding program last summer. After several days of activities for children in low income housing, they distributed Bibles. “The gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was shared,” said Akins. “Parents and children began coming to Christ.”
St. Joseph Baptist Association took on one of the most aggressive distribution strategies. They sought to distribute 10,000 NTs through the summer in various servant evangelism projects in churches. “A pastor had not considered what his church was doing as to being seasons of service,” reported Clyde Elder, director of missions. “They were just ministering and witnessing to residents of a multi-housing community. So, he incorporated Bible distribution and was excited to see how open people were to taking a Bible and talking about it.” Elder says it takes a God-sized vision. “Some of our pastors took a couple of cases of Bibles and came back quickly for more. They underestimated what they could do at different venues.”
Kevin Kohler worked with Concord Association in Jefferson City during their 3MT missions project involving 200 students in servant evangelism projects last summer. He said, “New Testaments are important tools. I personally don’t care for cold door knocking. I feel service projects provide a much more personal connection and is a far more important relationship-building process. I love the neighbors to ask us what we are doing.”
The responses from around the state were terrific. However, we also learned what not to do. One pastor was prevented from distributing Bibles in a July 4th parade. Another pastor preached in a park for two weeks with no response after five churches distributed NTs in their community. During a community food distribution a Methodist pastor expressed discomfort doing anything to link the Bible with food distribution. Some of the reports from pastors admitted they had no discipleship plans in place when their church members led the lost to Christ using the “marked” NTs.
More than 700 NTs went out through Disaster Relief (DR) volunteers. Dwain Carter, DR director, summed up what so many reported, “We want to be the hands and feet of Jesus to this world, but we also want to share with the people we help the Living Word of God.”
Going out “Sowing in Tears” is the theme of this year’s State Evangelism-Discipleship Conference, Jan. 27-28, at Crossway in Springfield. What better way to “sow” than distributing God’s Word in a Day, Moment, or Season of Service?
An eight-page “Bible Providers List” is online at www.mobaptist.org/light under the Resources tab. What will God do to transform your community with His Word? (Mark Snowden serves Missouri Baptists as evangelism/discipleship strategist (573) 556-0319 or email@example.com.)