Kentucky Baptists on Saturday kicked off their largest-ever evangelism campaign, seeking to share the Gospel with 1.5 million households in the state by Easter.
As many as 50,000 Baptists in the state are expected to participate in the door-to-door evangelism effort. From kids to grandparents, Christians of all age will be hand distributing a plastic bag with a brochure containing the Gospel message to homes in Kentucky. The brochure directs readers to the campaign website, www.findithere.com.
On the website, visitors can find answers to popular questions such as "How can I know that God exists?" "Why should I trust the Bible?" and "Aren't there many ways to heaven?" People can also search for a Southern Baptist church nearby and download a book to help them understand God's purpose for their life.
"We are praying for a breakthrough," said Stan Lowery, director of missions for the Nelson Baptist Association, in a promotional video on the Kentucky Baptist Convention website.
The NBA consists of 42 Southern Baptist churches located in three counties in Kentucky.
"We are not just praying that people be saved, that's a huge thing and we want that to happen," said Lowery. "But we want to see revivals across our land. We got a lot of folks who are Christian in name only. We pray for them and their families and to see God move in our midst in a powerful way."
Lowery has been working with local Baptist pastors in Kentucky to divide geographic location for distribution of the Gospel tracts.
"Find It Here" is part of a wider evangelistic effort called "God's Plan for Sharing" (GPS) developed by the Southern Baptist Convention's North American Mission Board. The GPS campaign calls on Southern Baptists across the country to share the Gospel with their neighbors so that the Great Commission will be fulfilled in the United States and Canada by 2020.
Pilot editions of GPS were launched in 2009 in five states and the campaign officially began coordinated evangelistic activities in 2010.
For the Kentucky Easter outreach event, the state Baptist convention and the NAMB are partnering to purchase ad spots on TV and radio across the state to reinforce the message found in the brochures.
"I'm excited about Find it Here," said Eric Allen, director of services and ministries at KBC. "It is the largest and I believe it will be the most effective evangelism initiative the Kentucky Baptists have ever been involved in."
The Texas Baptist Convention already began its Texas Hope 2010 initiative, which is also the state's largest evangelistic effort by Baptists, earlier this year.
The Texas Hope 2010 initiative includes a three-pronged approach: distribution of evangelistic CDs, prayer, and donating and serving the hungry in the state. Texas Baptists are also trying to share the Gospel with every person in the state by Easter Sunday, April 4.
Behind the intensive evangelistic campaigns by Southern Baptists are troubling statistics that the nation's largest Protestant denomination has declining membership and baptism numbers. The latest report shows a membership decline in 2008 by 0.2 percent. And while the population in the country more than doubled since 1950 and the number of SBC churches grew, the convention still baptized 33,887 less people in 2008 compared to 1950.
The chairman of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force, Dr. Ronnie Floyd, gave the report in February in which he highlighted that three in four people living in North America are estimated to be "lost and perishing."
"To the degree we grasp lostness will be the degree we are willing to do whatever is necessary to penetrate it," Floyd said. "If we do not understand lostness intellectually and theologically, we will not change nor will we do what must be done to penetrate it."
GPS is part of the SBC's response to declining numbers of membership and baptism, which the denomination leaders say is a result of Baptists not sharing the Gospel as they should be. The grassroots evangelism campaigns seek to mobilize everyday Baptists to share their faith with their neighbors.
Kentucky Baptists plan to distribute printed Gospel presentations to every household between March 6 and through March 21.
On the Web: www.findithere.com