MBC to take Gospel to State Fair
DOMs gear up for evangelistic push
By Allen Palmeri
July 26, 2005
JEFFERSON CITY – About 15 Missouri Baptist associations who have responded to the call to treat the Missouri State Fair like a summer missions trip are preparing to share the Gospel daily Aug. 11-21 in Sedalia.
In February, Gary Payne, director of missions, Linn-Livingston Baptist Association, sent a letter to his fellow DOMs asking them to line up workers from their associations. The response has been encouraging.
“All of the slots were filled several months ago,” Payne said. “The associations have been real enthusiastic about this opportunity.”
Linn-Livingston has been slotted into a full day’s work at the fair ever since Payne came aboard as DOM in 2001. This year, due to the strong interest in participation from all corners of the state, Linn-Livingston is splitting a day of service with another association, Payne said.
“We had a very good response,” Payne said. “That’s why we divided some of the days. We had more associations that wanted to participate in it than we had slots available.”
The enthusiasm has been such that three or four new associations have joined in the effort, Payne said. For example, Salt River Baptist Association did a full day last year. This year, with Texas Baptist Association expressing its desire to participate for the first time, both will do a half day.
State fair evangelism consists of Missouri Baptists under a big tent handing out water and lemon drink with Scripture verses on the cups. Tables are set up so that people can take surveys designed to lead into official presentations of the Gospel. Music provided through a Missouri Baptist Convention sound system and face painting add to the festive atmosphere.
“Anyone who would have some time and would like to come by, I’m sure that we can fit them in,” Payne said. “If there are some who could come to either help distribute water or help with the witnessing, if they’ll just come by the booth there, there will be a director of missions there who will be in charge of each time slot.”
Payne and Patrick Ryan, DOM, Eleven Point River Baptist Association, are serving as co-coordinators of the state fair outreach.
“I think this could very well be one of the greatest witnessing opportunities that we have in the state of Missouri,” Payne said. “Last year we distributed like 50,000 cups of water with Scripture verses on them.
“There are just so many people there at the fair. Many of them I’m sure don’t know the Lord Jesus as Savior, so I think it’s just a tremendous opportunity not only for our convention but for all of our churches to realize that all of them are taking part in it. They all have an investment in it in their gifts through the Cooperative Program.”