Pentecostals Flash Christian Message in Times Square

The spectaculars in Times Square will be flashing Christian messages to an anticipated 21 million people in an unprecedented two-week campaign. The Assemblies of God kicked off an outreach today on two prominent jumbotrons in New York's lighted landmark.

Displayed on the ABC jumbotron and the News Astrovision Screen in the nation's largest city will be hundreds of spots with the theme "God Gives Hope" and a flashed prayer phone line for thousands to request prayers and accept Christ as Savior.

"God has given to the Assemblies of God an unprecedented opportunity to take the message of hope to millions in Times Square," said the Rev. Thomas E. Trask, general superintendent of the Pentecostal denomination. "Those who have been involved in planning for this outreach have seen it grow far beyond our dreams or fondest imagination."

The Times Square campaign is one of the most visible outreaches the Assemblies of God has ever undertaken and will also be accompanied by live radio broadcasts and volunteers on the streets.

Scores of Christians from the Assemblies of God will be scattered throughout Times Square distributing literature and offering prayers during the outreach. An added bonus to the major effort is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade – one of the nation's largest parades that draw some 2.5 million people to the streets of Manhattan and more than 40 million television viewers.

"Without question, God has opened these doors at this time for us to literally take the good news of Jesus Christ to the streets of our nations," commented Trask. "I believe this is a God-given window for this church."

The outreach also involves pastors and churches in the New York District and believers nationwide in financially supporting an effort that normally would be far-fetched when it comes to funding, especially in "pricey" New York City.

Advertising campaigns have become more popular among Christian denominations that are beginning spend the dollars to pierce through popular media in reaching the general public.

The United Methodist Church had launched a $1.7 million national television campaign earlier this year, encouraging people to "believe again" in the power of prayer. This was only one of several costly television campaigns that United Methodists have run to bring more people into the church.

The Assemblies of God reported that the costs for the November outreach were reduced to a fraction of the "original retail price," but is still in the tens of thousands of dollars range. A request for monetary support continues.