Thousands visit Sikeston Judgment House
By Bob Baysinger
October 21, 2003
|Greeting visitors to Judgment House at Miner Baptist Church, Sikeston, recently were some occupants of Hell. 2003 marked the third consecutive year Miner has presented the drama.|
SIKESTON – The phone rang in Little Rock, Ark.
It was mom calling on a cell phone from their motor home, parked at a site near Sikeston.
"You’ve got to come and see this," the mom told her son.
The rest is history.
The son discussed it with his wife and they decided to drive the 264 miles from Little Rock to Sikeston to see a presentation of Judgment House at Miner Baptist Church. The church is located just off I-55 on the outskirts of this southeastern Missouri city.
And it was worth the trip.
The husband and wife did more than see Judgment House.
They both got saved.
These were two of the 690 who made salvation decisions during the eight nights of Judgment House at Miner Baptist Church, pastored by Mitch Jackson.
"It was really cool," said Jim Barnhart, Miner’s associate pastor. "On Wednesday and Thursday of the last week, we turned away nearly 1,000 people, and we don’t know how many were turned away on the last Saturday and Sunday performance. The first walk through was at 5 p.m., but there were people lined up at 3:30 p.m. waiting to get in."
|A soldier in the Judgment House Heaven scene bows to Christ. Miner Baptist Church Pastor Mitch Jackson said 690 were saved during the performance.|
Judgment House originated in 1983 as a Halloween alternative and is now presented year-round by churches nationwide. This year marked the third consecutive year Miner has presented Judgment House, a dramatic presentation with an emphasis on a person’s need to be saved.
The 2003 Judgment House featured a military plot.
Different scenes are presented in different areas of the church. Groups were led from area to area, ending at a decision room.
Each of the Judgment House salvation decisions at Miner are dealt with on a one-on-one basis.
"Two of our deacons gave the invitation at the end of the walk-through," Jackson said. "We explain to them as we’re giving the invitation that there is a counselor who would like to speak to them if they accept Christ."
Names, addresses and other important information were collected by the counselor.
"We had a lot of salvation decisions last year, but we plan to do a better job following up this year," Jackson said. "We have a missionary on site who is providing some good ideas. We’re going to start some Bible studies and involve some sister churches in the process. We want to preserve the results God has given us."
During the eight nights of Judgment House at Miner, there were 3,304 people who saw the drama. Along with the salvation decisions, Barnhart said 394 rededication decisions were recorded.
Miner Baptist baptized five the Sunday after Judgment House concluded.
"Many other churches around us are also going to be baptizing people who were saved at Judgment House," Barnhart said. "We’re entering all the information into a computer program and will be following up to acclimate them into some church. We’re going be using the 40 Days of Purpose material to help them begin a walk with the Lord."