East Texas churches launch nationwide plan to reach non-believers

By Jena Johnson - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Southern Baptist churches like Calvary Baptist in Lufkin were not surprised to hear that fewer people these days openly call themselves Christians, but a new movement could spark change.

"The goal is to move people to where they're more intentional about sharing their faith with other to make evangelism a full front of what other churches are doing," said Randy Brown, the Senior Pastor at Calvary Baptist Church.

Pastor Brown just got back from a mission trip in Mexico. Thursday was his first chance to sit down and look at the new campaign launched by the Southern Baptist's Convention called GPS; God's Plan for Sharing. As Pastor Brown flipped through the guide book, he thought aloud, "I like the emphasis that it has on prayer and praying for our community and for people that we know personally."

He said the GPS provides resources to help train and equip the church members to carry the word even when they leave the pews.

"To be able to go out and share their faith with people who are in their sphere of influence," said Pastor Brown.

Jeffie Burns, Baptist Student Minister at Angelina College and Member of Calvary Baptist, explained GPS to one of her students.

"It's kind of turned. They would much rather their friend or family member tell them about Christ," said Burns.

A new study reveals religious information from a family member works 63 percent of the time and getting the information from a friend works 56 percent of the time. The survey also revealed that non-believers will reject an evangelical message delivered in advertising or billboards.

"It's all about sharing Christ - what he has done for you and other people, being able to see that in people," said Ricky White, an Angelina College seminary student.

"I think they're much more apt to listen to someone - their peer tell them something," said Burns. "[It's better to have peer saying] 'I was there, I saw it' versus them reading it in print."

Burns practices what she preaches. She said she looks forward to helping her home church, Calvary Baptist, launch its version of GPS this fall.