Reaching Across Illinois: Sharing the Gospel through attractional evangelistic events
What do block parties, fall festivals, wild game dinners, family nights and evangelistic crusades have in common?
Each is a vehicle used by churches across Illinois to share the Gospel with their neighbors. And in 2012, each has a place in Reaching Across Illinois, an evangelism emphasis that challenges IBSA churches to plan and implement attractional evangelistic events so more people in their communities might hear and respond to the Gospel. Read more
GPS (God's Plan for Sharing) 2012: Planning, training begin
In 2010, Illinois Baptists trekked door-to-door in their neighborhoods, placing door-hangers, Gospel tracts and invitations to attend church on front doors as part of God's Plan for Sharing (GPS). In 2012, GPS' attractional evangelism will include block parties, wild game dinners, sports clinics, antique car shows, skate-a-thons, golf tournaments and other events. This webpage offers ideas and helps for planning attractional evangelism events in churches.
With a theme of "Hope: Find It Here," GPS 2012 will utilize more Internet social media -- like Facebook and Google Ads -- along with "drive-time" radio spots, but less TV advertising, although some TV ads will run in dozens of markets across the United States. A half-dozen 30-second TV spots in English and Spanish already have been produced.
The external GPS website -- Findithere.com -- will include personal testimonies, Gospel presentations, tips on how to find a Southern Baptist Convention church and answers to spiritual questions. An internal GPS website -- GPS2020.net -- will offer tips to pastors and church members. A toll-free phone number—1-888-JESUS2012 (537-8720) also will be available.
Attractional or missional? An attractional evangelistic event survey by SWBTS
This study was done by the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in partnership with NAMB. A thousand SBC churches were asked about their use of Attractional Harvest Events defined as: the event utilized attraction to draw lost people to attend, it was bathed in prayer, well prepared for, and the Gospel was presented along with an invitation to respond.
Five hundred of these churches were the most effective evangelistic churches in the SBC. These churches baptize the most people; they assimilate them, and are all growing numerically.
7 Key Findings:
1. Nearly all A-CHURCHES, which are the nation's most highly effective evangelistic SBC churches, sponsor evangelistic events, do several of them annually, do them especially well, and get excellent results.
2. There is a significant demonstrable correlation between SBC churches which sponsor several evangelistic events annually and do them well, these Southern Baptist churches across the USA are performing at the highest levels of evangelistic effectiveness (A-CHURCHES).
3. There is also a significant demonstrable correlation between SBC churches which sponsor fewer evangelistic events and do them less well, these Southern Baptist churches across the USA are performing at moderate levels of evangelistic effectiveness (B-CHURCHES).
4. Two-thirds of A-CHURCHES sponsor both evangelistic events AND an active personal evangelism program.
5. Significantly more A-CHURCHES sponsor evangelistic events than B-CHURCHES, which are less evangelistically effective churches.
6. A-CHURCHES sponsor significantly more evangelistic events and do significantly better preparation and follow-up for evangelistic events than B-CHURCHES.
7. More A-CHURCHES sponsor (in order) holiday related, revival-like, and sports and recreation evangelistic events than any other types. More than half sponsor revival-like evangelistic events.
Fresh Ideas: GPS and welcoming guests to your church
A tattoo artist, a CEO, and a homeless guy walk into your church's worship service ...
No, that's not the first line of a joke. It could become a weekly reality. Thousands of Southern Baptist churches will plan "attractional" events during the GPS emphasis (www.GPS2020.net) this spring, with the purpose of inviting their community to church. But when those strangers walk into church, will they receive a warm welcome? How can a church assure that outsiders are accepted?
The answer is spelled with just three letters: Y-O-U.
Yes, you -- the normal Christian person sitting in the pew on Sunday morning. It's nice when the greeter at the door says hello, and it's great if the pastor or church leaders have a moment to speak to guests, but what really makes a difference is when you offer a sincere hand of friendship to a guest.
Will you make it your goal to welcome every guest who sits near you during worship? Try this strategy:
-- Make a specific commitment. Look at your church layout and select an area, such as a section of seats, or three pews nearest you. Make a personal commitment to God to welcome anyone who sits in that area. Don't fret if others greet them; no one complains about being over-welcomed.
-- Say a silent prayer as you enter church every Sunday. Ask God to direct you to those who need a welcome and to give you boldness to show His love to them.
-- Just say "hello." Speak to each person who sits in that area. A simple "Hi, Teresa" can mean the world, even to regular attenders. Watch for ways to encourage them.
-- Keep an index card in your Bible. Take notes on your smart phone. You'll discover that many people sit in the same general area, and you'll soon be calling them by name. This also makes it easier to recognize guests.
-- Intentionally watch for visitors. It's difficult to be a first-time guest, but just one willing person -- that's you -- can help put them at ease. Sit beside or in front of the guest. Introduce yourself, and repeat his name in conversation. Write it on your index card or make a note on your smart phone. Make a goal to call him by name when he returns. Tell him you're glad he came.
-- Introduce the guest to at least two other people before she leaves. For example, help a young mother meet another mom, then escort her to meet the pastor.
-- Offer a "next step." Invite the guest to your small group, Bible study or an upcoming church fellowship event. Write down details for the guest.
-- Offer friendship. Give her your personal contact info, and encourage the guest to email or call with questions. Invite her to join you after church for lunch or for coffee one day this week. Be sure to invite her to come again for worship next Sunday.
What would happen if the world began to walk into your church doors next Sunday? Would those guests be shunned or warmly embraced? The answer is in your hands.
You thought the first line of this was a joke, right? Instead, it's the crux of the Gospel, the serious work of loving all people to Jesus. Will you begin this Sunday to make a resolution to welcome guests?
Diana Davis (www.keeponshining.com) is an author, speaker and wife of the North American Mission Board's vice president for the Midwest region, Steve Davis.
What is GPS?
Central Theme -- Every Believer Sharing, Every Person Hearing -- by 2020
Vision -- To fulfill the Great Commission in North America by 2020.
Strategy -- 4 Biblical Markers:
Praying -- Every church praying for lost people
Equipping -- Every believer equipped to share as a trained witness
Sowing -- Every lost person receiving a witness
Harvesting -- Every church harvesting and celebrating every salvation response
2012 -- Reaching Across North America
2014 -- Serving Across North America
2016 -- Sharing Across North America
2018 -- Start Something Across North America
2020 -- Celebrating Across North America
In 2012 we will reach and mobilize through Attractional Evangelistic Events (revivals, crusades, men's conferences, women's conferences, block parties, Family Festivals, ethnic festivals, harvest parties, parenting conferences, marriage conferences, Live Nativities, etc.) throughout the year!
Learn more now!