PADUCAH, Ky. (8/15/13) – According to Todd Gray, a church revitalization consultant with the Kentucky Baptist Convention, “If a church will talk and plan, and that planning leads to activity, they can see great things happen.”
Kentucky Baptists are making plans for God to do great things in November as part of RISK: Paducah, a 10-day evangelistic emphasis prior to the 2013 KBC Annual Meeting Nov. 12.
Local churches, associations and KBC staff are working together to host a variety of gospel-sharing events—from revivals to basketball camp to launching a new church—with the goal of introducing thousands of West Kentuckians to Christ.
Kentucky Baptists outside the region are encouraged to participate, too.
“It’s time for churches to think about assembling a team and coming to Paducah,” said Gray, a former Oak Grove pastor who now assists churches in approximately 12 local Baptist associations in West Kentucky.
RISK: Reaching Into the State of Kentucky is the focus of the KBC Evangelism & Church Planting Team’s affinity evangelism strategy. The approach equips churches to identify communities within their communities—such as outdoorsmen, quilters, college students, the military, classic car enthusiasts and others—to build relationships and share the gospel more effectively.
The RISK: Paducah outreach is designed around affinities, Gray said, noting that something as traditional as “invite a friend to church day” on Nov. 3 can have a new spin on it to attract a specific group.
Gray said that Rhodes Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Sedalia held a recent “friend day” off the church grounds, hoping to attract motorcycle enthusiasts who might be uncomfortable visiting a church in the usual setting.
Attendance that Sunday doubled the usual number, with half of the visitors identified as non-churchgoers.
“So now (Rhodes Chapel members) have an opportunity to work with and cultivate those prospects … That’s the value of a Friend Day,” Gray added.
Such news is music to the ears of Chuck McAlister, leader of the KBC Evangelism & Church Planting Team.
Before his appointment to the Kentucky Baptist Convention, McAlister focused much of his effort on reaching the affinity group of outdoorsmen. For 15 years, he shared the gospel and talked hunting on the Outdoors Channel through the popular show, “AdventureBound Outdoors.”
During RISK: Paducah, McAlister will speak at a wild game dinner, Nov. 7, at Twelve Oaks Baptist Church in Paducah. A similar event in Madisonville last March led to 128 people professing faith in Christ.
“I’m very excited about what the churches and associations in West Kentucky are putting into place for RISK: Paducah,” McAlister said. “I believe very strongly that we are going to see people who previously have felt cut off from the church begin a relationship with Christ because of the affinity-focused efforts taking place in November.”
Jeff Wallace, minister of global outreach at Lone Oak First Baptist, said anticipation in the Paducah area is building.
“It’s neat to see what God is doing to bring our community together for Him,” he said, adding that RISK: Paducah and the KBC Annual Meeting are coming at a time of spiritual growth within the Lone Oak congregation.
“The Lord is putting some things in place,” Wallace said. “There’s a lot of ‘lost-ness’ in the area; only 16 percent of the people go to church. We’d like to start some new churches and revitalize some others.”
In a recent meeting with the 15-member planning team, Gray said he thought of Proverbs 14:23.
The verse “says there is profit in all labor but the talk of the lips leads to poverty,” Gray said. “Sometimes, all we do is talk, but (through RISK: Paducah) there was talk that led to planning that will lead to activity.”
Information provided by Dannah Prather
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