By Chip Arnhart & Jerry Pipes
ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)—As Southern Baptists prepare to implement “God’s Plan for Sharing (GPS): Across North America” in the coming months, the North American Mission Board (NAMB) offers 10 steps toward reaching the goal.
1. Pray. Mobilize your church to pray for all lost people in your community and your church’s efforts to reach them.
2. Determine your territory. Determine which homes your church will touch through prayer and the “Find It Here” Gospel distribution. Check with your association to identify other participating churches so as not to overlap efforts.
3. Order “Across North America” materials. The first item you’ll need is the Pastor/Church Preparation Guide. You can download this for free at gps2020.net or order a copy for a small fee by calling (866) 407-6262.
You’ll also need to order plastic bags and Find It Here Gospel drop-in pieces from your association or state convention. Find contact information at gps2020.net. Be sure to order enough for each home in your territory. You can also order church promotional items such as stand-up banners, outdoor banners, postcard invitations, bulletin inserts and many other items from Outreach, Inc., at Outreach.com by searching for “Find It Here.”
4. Update your church’s profile. Visit sbc.net and view your church’s listing, and if necessary, correct your church’s information. Churches can make changes to their online information anytime using their 7-digit SBC ID# (the same number used for the Annual Church Profile) by going to churchsearch.net.
Be sure the address listed is your physical address and not a P.O. Box. Those looking for church homes during this campaign will be sent to this website to find churches in their area. If a state convention has a larger number of churches to update (say, more than 25), each convention can send the changes in an Access database format and this information will be made current within the Find A Church/Church Search database.
To download an Access database template that includes all the required fields, go to cdb.sbc.net. If you choose to send an Access, you will need to fill in the complete information for that church, not just the information that changed. Information provided through this Access database will replace the current online listing.
5. Become an ERC Covenant Church. The information from individuals contacting the Evangelism Response Center is sent to Covenant Churches for follow-up. If your church is equipped and registered as a Covenant Church, then the contact information of people accepting Christ in your area will come to you. For more information about Covenant Churches call (770) 410-6383 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. Provide your congregation with evangelism training. The Across North America campaign is an opportunity to equip your congregation to share the Gospel. Visit gps2020.net for ideas and materials to help you equip your church in evangelism.
7. Prepare your church for company. Easter Sunday will be a day when many people come and visit for the first time. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Be sure this isn’t their last time visiting by preparing to welcome and incorporate visitors into your activities and services.
8. Keep it simple. Adding extra steps to this tested process only weakens the campaign. Across North America consists of four simple steps:
a. A three-week targeted media saturation taking place Mar. 20 through April 11 (TV, radio, billboards, newspapers, etc.).
b. Participating churches prayerwalking their communities on the weekend of Mar. 20.
c. Participating churches on Mar. 27 distributing clear bags containing a “Find It Here” Gospel drop-in piece and an invitation to your Easter services to each home in your territory.
d. Participating churches conducting a five-week follow-up process after Easter.
9. Make Easter Sunday, April 4, special. Because of your prayers and hands-on work to distribute the Gospel, many lost people will be at your Easter Sunday services. Take full advantage of this time by clearly presenting the Gospel and providing an opportunity for people to respond.
10. Celebrate what God has done. Host a baptism celebration, reflect with thanksgiving on the changed lives, praise God for the number of believers trained and rejoice about the revival experienced in your community. Let God continue this transformation in your heart, your church and your community.
Chip Arnhart is resource coordinator for NAMB’s spiritual awakening team, and Jerry Pipes is the team leader.