Joe Cannon, pastor of Oklahoma City, Crown Heights, adjust the Christmas bulbs located across the front of the auditorium. A bulb is lit everytime a member shares a MY316 story. (PHOTO: Dana Williamson)

“It’s going to be a sad Christmas if our lights are not lit, because that means somebody is not going to know the Gospel,” said Joe Cannon.

Cannon, pastor of Oklahoma City, Crown Heights, is referring to the string of Christmas lights strung across the steps leading to the pulpit in Crown Heights’ newly refurbished auditorium.

“Every time one of our members shares his or her MY316 story, we turn on a Christmas bulb,” explained Cannon. “It would be great if we could light up all four of the steps leading to the pulpit.”

Presently, the string of 25 lights now in place, has only two bulbs lit, but Cannon said some members have shared their story more than once, but have felt awkward lighting more than one light.

Cannon said when the statewide MY316 emphasis was introduced, he was preaching through the book of Acts.
“It took me more than a year to preach through it,” Cannon said, “but it challenged our church.”

He said the Sunday after he finished the series, he preached the first message encouraging members to share their MY316 stories.

Cannon admitted the church is not burning the world up with lights so far, but the people are talking about it.
“I think they are excited about it,” he said. “This is not an evangelical church, but the idea is stimulating them.”

He said most of his members have a “church is a place to go to,” mind set, but since this is something different, he hopes it will light a fire.

The church, which averages about 50 people in worship, has had three people saved during the emphasis.
Cannon said, although he is sharing his story, he is not lighting any bulbs himself.

“I told the people, ‘this is for you,’” he said.

He related that the day before Thanksgiving, he was at a home improvement store, and when he checked out, the cashier asked him if he was ready for tomorrow.

“Am I ready,” Cannon responded. Then he shared his story and MY316 with her.

He said of the two members who have already lit the bulbs, one shared in line at a fast food restaurant and the other shared with a co-worker.

The church auditorium sports a MY316 banner, and MY316 video clips are played on the church’s new video screen. Cannon said Tim Gentry, Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma evangelism group specialist, will be preaching to the congregation and bringing along the MY316 car.

“It will be a joyous Christmas if all our lights are lit,” Cannon said.