Innovative evangelism initiative takes root up North
Mar 28, 2014
By BP STAFF

FENTON, Mich. (BP)—Baptist churches always like to mix a meal with an event.

Michigan Baptists recently took that one step further, hosting 10 meals at 10 different locations over a five-day period from Jan. 13-17. These events were used to promote the God’s Plan for Sharing evangelistic strategy called “Serving Across Michigan.”

“The GPS evangelism meeting was well worth my time, even though the weather was a challenge,” said Arthur Werry, pastor of New Life Baptist Church in Fraser. “I was able to glean several outreach ideas along with a very helpful strategic planning outline for GPS.”

In other states, including Florida, the GPS evangelism strategy is being carried out in a variety of ways.

For instance, the Florida Baptist Convention is planning two statewide evangelism conferences, called “Love-Share,” which focus on the convention’s “Love Your Neighbor, Share Christ” evangelistic emphasis.

The first event will be in Daytona Beach March 24-25 and the second one in Bonifay March 27-28. Both events are free and open to the public.

Meanwhile, back in Michigan, the recommended kick-off date for the “Serving Across Michigan” days of service projects is May 31. Churches can participate in one of five Operation 1-Day project events or create and implement other service projects in their own communities. Following that Saturday in May, the Days and Seasons of Service are encouraged to begin statewide.

“An evangelistic strategy is not about satisfied saints sitting in seats. It’s about sending saints out of their seats to tell people about a Savior,” said Bobby Gilstrap, lead missionary and executive director of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan, at the meetings. “This isn’t just a six-month strategy; we want to encourage you to carry this out through 2014 and 2015.”

The overall goal in Michigan and across North America is simple: to have every believer sharing and every person hearing the gospel by 2020. To accomplish this objective, NAMB has outlined four biblical markers to keep the program on track.

The first of the four is praying. The GPS strategy stresses that every church should first be in prayer for the lost. Next is making sure that every believer is equipped to share the gospel. The third biblical marker is sowing. The plan calls for every lost person to receive a witness. Rounding out the goal is harvesting souls. Every church is to be harvesting and celebrating every salvation response.

Between now and 2020 NAMB has planned bi-annual campaign themes. Two of those have been completed—in 2010 “Across North America” and 2012 “Reaching Across North America.” The 2014 campaign theme is “Serving Across North America” with a media campaign theme of “Purpose. Find it Here.” State conventions are encouraged to adapt the theme for their state.

The Michigan GPS website, GPS.bscm.org, has been launched with numerous resources available for Michigan Baptists’ churches. Included on the GPS site are video recordings of the training provided at the GPS evangelism meetings/meals and dozens of links and downloads of printed, audio and video resources. In addition, banners and lawn signs will be provided on a “first-come, first serve” basis that supports the national “Find It Here” media emphasis. All resources are provided for cooperating Michigan Baptist churches through the Cooperative Program. Additional banners and resources can be purchased at a minimal cost.

At each meeting, participants were provided a NAMB planning guide for pastors and churches, service project ideas and resources to make prayer an integral part of the strategy for the local church. The participants were also exposed to testimonies about how GPS has worked in other places and to media resources they could use in promoting their own efforts. All of these resources will also be made available on the GPS website, GPS.bscm.org. 

The participants were also exposed to testimonies about how GPS has worked in other places and to media resources they could use in promoting their own efforts. All of these resources will also be made available on the GPS website, GPS.bscm.org. The mapping center can provide churches a list of residents in their community for identifying and targeting population groups for outreach or service activities. The new Impacting Michigan website, www.ImpactingMichigan.net, was also introduced to assist churches be more effective in reaching their communities.

“Serving Across Michigan” will be a blessing as hundreds of churches join together reaching the lost and impacting the Kingdom for Christ.

This article appeared in the Baptist Beacon (baptistbeacon.net), newsjournal of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. 

 

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