As Oklahoma Baptists are gearing up for the largest outreach in the history of the state, Alan Quigley, Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma evangelism specialist, says he is not discouraged, despite the decreasing number of baptisms in Oklahoma.
“There are a lot of reasons to be discouraged when we look at statistics from past years,” Quigley said, “but I can’t help taking the Word of God for fact. The Bible says ‘if we are faithful to sow, there will be a harvest.’ I believe if we continue to be faithful, we will see a harvest.”
Quigley and his office are spearheading the second ACROSS Oklahoma, a gospel sowing event scheduled March 15 that will place the plan of salvation on 700,000-800,000 doors of homes across the state.
Quigley said the strongest harvest last year came from churches who added a prayer element and did a concerted follow-up.
“While distribution is effective in getting the Gospel out, it doesn’t really reap souls without prayer and follow-up,” he pointed out.
For those reasons, this year’s effort will be preceded by a statewide prayerwalk and a PowerUP follow-up through Sunday School.
“ACROSS Oklahoma is the overall umbrella that covers pray across, reach across, preach across (Easter Sunday services on March 23) and follow-up across through Sunday School,” Quigley emphasized.
All Oklahoma Baptists are urged to participate in the statewide prayerwalk on March 8, whether they get involved in an organized effort or simply pray wherever they are that day, focusing especially on lost souls.
“Every church’s goal is not handing out packets or getting new people to attend worship services,” noted Quigley. “The goal is to help people establish a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, then help them grow into mature, fruitbearing believers. Involving newcomers in Sunday School is one of the most effective ways to help people discover Christ as their personal Savior and grow them into maturity.”
The PowerUp follow-up will involve five weeks worth of tips on how to connect the prospects churches discover to a Sunday School class.
Television and radio commercials, which will begin the first part of March, will help prepare those receiving the gospel information. Quigley said this year’s commercial has a different ending than last year’s.
“It points people to discover Jesus Christ through a local Southern Baptist church,” he revealed. “It is an incomplete strategy without an invitation to a local church. Everything has to point back to the local church. That’s where the hands and feet are.”
Quigley said all the state’s associations, both Anglo and Indian as well as the Hispanic fellowships, are pushing for churches in their areas to participate in ACROSS Oklahoma.
Quigley is encouraging churches to enlist all ages for gospel distribution and to develop an invitation to the Easter service at their church to include in the packet.
“They also need to locate a map of their ministry area, and enlist two- and/or four-person teams for the door-to-door delivery,” he said. “Give each team the exact location on the map you want them to work. This should allow you to know how much of your community you covered with the Gospel and protect you from duplicating your coverage.”
Quigley encourages a time of prayer before the distribution, and leaving the packet on the door (not the mailbox) and praying for each home as they deliver the materials.
Quigley added that because March 15 is the beginning of spring break in many areas of the state, some churches may want to take the Gospel out on Wednesday night prior to people leaving on spring break.
“It’s not about the day we distribute,” he observed. “Any day we get the Gospel out is a good day.”