On a stormy April afternoon at the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma’s (BGCO) Baptist Building, four Oklahoma Baptist associations received blessings on wheels for bright days of evangelism ahead.
The BGCO Evangelism office presented Cherokee Strip Association, Johnston-Marshall Association, North Canadian Association and East Central Association with block party trailers, provided by funding through the Oklahoma State Missions Offering (SMO).
The 16-foot trailers are equipped with various attractions and items to create a first-class block party experience where people can have a good time of fellowship and learning about the Lord.
At the block party event, BGCO Executive Director-Treasurer Anthony L. Jordan prayed over the trailers and the ministry that
will come from their use. Alan Quigley, BGCO Mobilization Team leader, expressed appreciation for the SMO.
Mike Napier, BGCO evangelism specialist, introduced the evangelistic block party trailers along with John Roe, a church planter in Shidler. Together, Napier and Roe were responsible for assembling the trailers with all items they thought necessary for evangelistic events to come.
”We’ve been working on this for 18 months now, planning, being very strategic with what outdoor games and indoor games to get, and this is what we’ve come up with,” explained Napier.
Each trailer holds resources including 10 different indoor and outdoor games, various sports balls, cotton candy, sno cone and popcorn machines. The trailers also have a sound system and outdoor lighting.
Explaining the vision that went into the creation of the trailers Napier said, “We wanted to make it as functional as possible to be able to pull into a park or neighborhood, open the doors, and you have everything there that you would need for a daytime or nighttime gathering.”
The trailers are to be used to intentionally reach neighborhoods, for new church starts, to help in revitalizing a church, for senior adult events, fall festivals, back-to-school events, holiday celebrations, sporting events, outreach and more. The audiences that can be reached with the evangelism trailers are limitless.
According to Napier, the most pivotal point in the use of the trailers is to be outreach-oriented and evangelistic in nature when sharing the Gospel in whatever method it is shared.
Matt Spann, director of missions (DOM) inCherokee Strip Association expressed his excitement about the trailers and the opportunities they bring saying, “I think this trailer will help us get outside the walls of our church buildings and out into the communities around us and really help us focus on reaching people who normally wouldn’t go to church.”
When Napier brought the idea of the trailers to a group of DOMs at a retreat, he was surprised with the responses he heard. Many said their associations have been saving for something just like this for years. It was an answer to prayers.
“God was in this process from the beginning; we just got to join in on how He was at work and where He was at work. So we were not only meeting needs that we didn’t realize existed, but we were able to resource churches and associations, and their
evangelism through these trailers that we wouldn’t be able to provide otherwise,” Napier said.
Spann pointed out that block party evangelism is a refreshing approach to reaching the lost world in the towns and cities of Oklahoma, “The block party trailer is a chance to say we care, and we’re going out to show you that. It’s just a different approach that gets you out in the community where the people are.”
The opportunities for use of the trailers are plentiful. A church could use the trailer for an evangelistic Vacation Bible School (VBS) rather than hosting one inside the walls of the church. “That would really be one way to draw in the un-churched children and present the Gospel all week long to the kids,” said Napier, “You see so many salvations that way because not only are you mentoring to the children but you’re reaching their parents and families as well.”
The evangelism trailers are unique because they are entirely funded by SMO dollars given by Oklahoma Baptists. Each trailer cost approximately $15,000 and has room for each association to add items like a barbecue grill and other things deemed useful to block parties.
“It feels really good to see those trailers pull away and know that it’s an investment that our entire state has made together,” said Napier. “If you think about it, from all corners of the state, every church has given to this cause, so they all have a little ownership in every soul being saved through these evangelism trailers.”
“The State Missions Offering being put to use like this is about as the most affective bang for your buck as you can get. I was amazed it worked out that we could even have something like this to use as an evangelism tool,” said Spann.
Those interested in using an evangelism trailer should contact their associational DOM. All associations that have existing trailers can contact the evangelism office at the BGCO to have someone look at potentially updating their trailer or training those interested in effective block party trailer evangelism.
As for Spann, he has already had churches interested in using his association’s trailer for events.
Napier expressed excitement for the potential kingdom advancement through these trailers saying, “I really believe that God is going to honor our prayers, the work and the gifts given to provide these trailers, and we’re going to see souls saved and lives changed.”