MBC evangelism takes flight on ‘information super highway’
By Brian Koonce
January 24, 2006
JEFFERSON CITY – The next time you leave a tip, you might be giving more than a 15 percent reward for good service. Consider leaving the waitress the thing that gives your life purpose.
The new website ShowMePurpose.com is helping Missouri Baptists to do just that.
“Younger generations are going to the Internet in search of Truth,” said Bob Caldwell, director of evangelism for the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC). “Even the most introverted person in their apartment at 2 a.m. can go to this site without pressure, except from the Holy Spirit.”
The idea is simple: people willing to share their faith through the website will write a short testimony that will be posted to the website. Through the MBC Evangelism office, they will receive business card-sized “Web cards” with their name on it that they can pass out anywhere: on the street, at work, school or along with the tip at a restaurant.
Anyone entering in the name on the card at the Web site will be able to read that person’s testimony, view similar testimonies and find a link to that person’s local church.
The site leads the viewer through a presentation of the Gospel. Every time a person’s testimony is viewed, they get an automated e-mail letting them know. If the viewer accepts Christ and wants to know more about their new purpose in life, they can enter their contact information which starts a chain reaction designed to reinforce and encourage the new believer.
The e-mail goes to the Evangelism Response Center (ERC) at the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and then the evangelism director at the local state convention.
“There are several ways to follow up,” Caldwell said, even outside of Missouri. “Let’s say you hand a card out in Lawton, Okla. and they accept Christ. You’re notified and you can e-mail and encourage them. The ERC would contact the evangelism director in Oklahoma and he would get that person’s information to a local pastor. We want to make sure these decisions are genuine. We’re not just headhunting here.”
The Web site also includes resources on apologetics and man-on-the-street type interviews.
To submit a testimony, simply go to the Web site and fill out the forms. The next step will be to contact the evangelism office to begin the process of getting the “Web cards.”
Caldwell said he hopes Missouri Baptists will embrace this new way of sharing the Gospel.
“We’re hoping to have 300 testimonies up by next month,” he said.
Still, this is not a replacement to face-to-face, one-on-one witnessing.
“We need to be sharing our faith verbally,” Caldwell said. “This isn’t supposed to replace that. It just gives us another tool in sharing our faith.”
The idea for ShowMePurpose.com came from a similar Web site developed by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, MostImportantThing.org. The MBC purchased the “guts” of the website and repurposed it for Missouri.
Kari Wiens, Web graphics specialist for the MBC, spearheaded the year-long effort to tailor the Web site to Missouri.
“Ours will look different but generally will be laid out similar,” he said.
Oklahoma Baptist have submitted thousands of testimonies on MostImportantThing.org’s database.
“I hope that many Missouri Baptists will join in using this great tool,” Wiens said.