There was once a dark cave deep down in the ground, underneath the earth and hidden away from view. Because it was so deep in the earth, the light had never been there. The cave had never seen light. The word “light” meant nothing to the cave, who couldn’t imagine what “light” might be.
Then one day, the sun sent an invitation to the cave, inviting it to come up and visit.
When the cave came up to visit the sun it was amazed and delighted because the cave had never seen light before, and it was dazzled by the wonder of the experience.
Feeling so grateful to the sun for inviting it to visit, the cave wanted to return the kindness and so it invited the sun to come down to visit it sometime, because the sun had never seen darkness.
So the day came and the sun came down and was courteously shown into the cave.
As the sun entered the cave, it looked around with great interest, wondering what “darkness” would be like. Then it became puzzled and asked the cave, “Where is the darkness?”
Wouldn’t you love to live in a world like that? A world that was so flooded with light that there was no darkness? Thankfully, every believer is headed toward a world like that (Rev. 22:5). Meanwhile, we must live in a world that oftentimes seems more flooded with darkness than light. We are prone to curse the darkness (in a Holy, Baptistic way, of course), yet, our Lord identifies us as the light of the world (Matt. 5:16). Darkness is forced to disappear when light appears!
This spring, Missouri Baptists are taking a giant step toward flooding our state with light. We are calling it GPS (God’S Plan for Sharing) across Missouri. GPS is the launch of a 10-year effort with the audacious vision of every believer sharing and every person in Missouri hearing the Gospel message by 2020.
The Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC), Associations and Churches are gearing up to touch Missouri’s 2.3 million households in March with a targeted Media Campaign, Prayer Walking and Distribution of Packets containing Find It Here Gospel drop-in pieces, and invitations to Easter services, April 4. This spring’s campaign will culminate in five weeks of follow-up with new believers through Mother’s Day, May 9.
Seven steps for preparing your church to increase the light in your community:
Pray! Mobilize your church to pray for all lost people in your community and your church’s efforts to reach them.
Determine your territory. Determine which homes your church will touch through prayer and the Find It Here Gospel distribution. Check with your Association to identify other participating churches so as not to overlap efforts.
Order Across Missouri materials. The first item you will need is the Pastor/Church Preparation Guide. You can download this for free at www.mobaptist.org/mogps, or call our office and we will send you one (800-736-6227, X 651). You will also need to order plastic bags and Find It Here Gospel drop-in pieces from your association or MBC evangelism office. Be sure to order enough for each home in your area.
Challenge church members to become telephone encouragers and become an Evangelism Response Center (ERC) covenant church. Telephone encouragers are trained to receive calls in their own homes from Gospel seekers across America. Telephone encouragers pass the information from their calls to the Evangelism Response Center at the North American Mission Board (NAMB). This information is then sent to Covenant Churches for follow-up. If your church is equipped and registered as a Covenant Church, the contact information of people accepting Christ in your area will come to you. For more information about Covenant Churches, download a brochure at www.mobaptist.org/mogps, or call the MBC Evangelism office (800-736-6227, X 651). Training for telephone encouragers and becoming a Covenant Church will be offered at each of the three remaining State Evangelism Conferences. Feb. 9 (Frederick Blvd, St. Joseph); Feb. 23 (Calvary Baptist, Hannibal); and, March 9, (Miner Baptist, Sikeston).
Provide your congregation with evangelism training. Training will be featured during the break out sessions of the Evangelism Conferences. Visit www.mobaptist.org, click on “Resources”, then, “Evangelism” for materials to help you equip your church in evangelism.
Keep it simple. GPS Across Missouri is four simple steps:
• A three-week targeted media campaign taking place March 20-April 11.
• Participating churches prayer walking their communities March 6 and 13.
• Participating churches distributing clear bags, March 20 and 27, to every door where they have prayer walked. Each clear bag will contain only two items: A Find It Here Gospel drop-in piece and an invitation from that church to Easter services, April 4.
• Participating churches conducting a five-week follow-up process after Easter.
Make Easter Sunday special. Because of your prayer and hands-on work to distribute the Gospel, many lost people will be at your Easter Sunday services. Take full advantage of this time by clearly presenting the Gospel and providing an opportunity for people to respond.
As we launch GPS Across Missouri this spring, let’s think of light years. A light year is a unit of distance. It’s the distance light travels in one year. How far is that? Six trillion miles! So, the light of some of the stars we see at night started out as far as six trillion miles away before making it to our atmosphere. The process of that light began a long, long, long, time away, and we are just now seeing it. True Light, eternal Light, everlasting Light, life-changing Light, entered our world 2,000 years ago in the person of Jesus Christ. Two millenniums later, His light has reached us. The objective of GPS Across Missouri is that no one in our state will remain untouched by His light. When His light is exposed, it forces the question: Where is the darkness? (Gary Taylor is the Missouri Baptist Convention’s director of evangelism.)