Through a bold initiative called MY316, Oklahoma Baptists have launched their largest evangelism effort to date. MY316, unveiled at the State Evangelism Conference, Jan. 25-26, is designed to engage every Oklahoma Baptist in praying for the lost, sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and serving the lost through Jesus’ love.
Based on John 3:16 and personal testimony, MY316 helps you use what you already know, your story and John 3:16, to share Jesus with your friends and family. A survey of 400 Oklahomans showed that three out of five can quote the verse, and many more are familiar with it. Even those who are unchurched and reveal no relationship with Jesus are favorable toward it. John 3:16 is like the hymn, “Amazing Grace,” in that regard. It is known and appreciated by many outside the Church. Thus, John 3:16, which is the Gospel in a nutshell, is, at the same time, a bridge to sharing Christ with many lost people because it’s a verse they already know.
Not only is John 3:16 most helpful when sharing the Gospel, but it also is a verse believers feel confident in sharing. A survey of 2,400 young people conducted at Falls Creek youth camp in 2009 asked the question, “If you were going to share Christ with a friend, how would you do it?”
The number one answer was that they would share their testimony, and the number two answer was John 3:16. The reason for these answers, we believe, is because the students already know John 3:16 and they know what Jesus has done for them. Thus, rather than spending weeks or months learning how to tell others about Jesus, through MY316 you will be ready share on “day one” because you already know it!
The MY316 strategy will unfold when every student attending Falls Creek Youth Camp and CrossTimbers Mission Camp this summer will learn how to share Christ using his/her testimony and John 3:16. Then, students and children will be led to identify friends and family who do not know Jesus, and they will commit to pray for them and serve them with the love of Christ. Some associational camps will also teach MY316 this summer.
Then, for five weeks in September and October, churches are encouraged to teach MY316 in Sunday School and worship. A church can do it differently, of course, but by using these already existing church ministries, we can reach everyone who attends. Church members will be asked to pray, share and serve their lost friends and family. Thus, MY316 is not about classroom study. It focuses on actually doing prayer, sharing and serving.
MY316 will cost a church nothing! It is provided through funds churches have given through the Cooperative Program and the (Edna McMillan) State Missions Offering. MY316 resources include: Sunday School curriculum for children through adults, new believer’s handbook, gospel tracts (including a smart-phone app), prayer cards, MY316.com social networking Web site and worship resources, such as videos and other worship helps.
If a church can’t do it during the five designated weeks in September and October, all the resources are undated and can be used at any and all times. Some churches will use them to train their evangelistic visitation teams year-round. The new believer’s material will also be an ongoing resource, meeting a critical need in our churches. The MY316 New Believer’s Book is unique in that it will lead every new Christian, in the first lesson, to write their testimony and begin praying for and sharing with their family and friends.
MY316 resources will be rolled out over the next five months, with the basic Sunday School and worship resources available by June for use in September. We want churches to have time to plan and review the resources before using them.
Meanwhile, go to www.my316.com and register as a user. There you can view videotaped testimonies and read articles, but you can also place your testimony there. In fact, churches can register as a member and place the video testimonies of church members on the site. Student groups and others will have fun doing this, and they will be able to direct friends to the site to view their testimonies. Grandparents can put their testimonies on the site and direct their grandchildren to it (even if they live in New York City or Seoul, Korea!).
MY316 provides churches with a way to ensure that every attender knows how to talk to others about Jesus. Using Sunday School and worship makes this goal attainable. You will help every person who attends your church to take personally the command of Christ to share the Gospel with every person (Mark 16:15).
Randall Adams is leader of the Church Outreach Team for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.