The cooperative spirit of three churches and two associations working together is saturating Marshall County with the Gospel to Every Home.
Each of them has taken a different strategy and approach, further proving there’s more than one way or one time for churches to share Jesus with their neighbors. Evangelist pastors Brad Walker (Briensburg Baptist), Scott Penick (New Harmony) and Charles Frazier (Zion’s Cause) are determined to do their part in the statewide initiative of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
“There’s people everywhere,” Frazier said. “We don’t have a shortage of people to visit.”
True enough. Mark Sickling, the associational mission strategist for the Blood River Association, worked with Dennis Manley and the Purchase Association to divide streets and neighborhoods to bring the Gospel to Every Home through the largely rural county.
“When I heard about Gospel to Every Home, it was certainly something I wanted to participate in, but I knew the majority of my churches are small country churches for the most part. And you’re talking about 15,000 homes in Marshall County,” Sickling said. “I didn’t see how it was going to be possible.”
However, Sickling saw it as an opportunity to work more closely with the Purchase area churches and Manley agreed. They talked at a lunch and then formed a task force with pastors and evangelism team members and began mapping it out.
“For the most part, it’s gone fairly smooth,” he said. “I can’t say 100% are participating and most of the churches haven’t even started yet. But as far as coordination and cooperation, I’m pleased.”
Sickling said it may sound cliché but it’s true that “we can do more together than apart. It’s too big of a task for any one person, any one church or any one association. So let’s cooperate and get this done.”
The pastors whose churches are participating appreciate the work of the mission strategists in putting everything together.
“We’re in a unique situation with two associations in Marshall and Calloway County,” Walker said. “Everybody worked together and it has been great.”
Penick agreed, saying the closeness of the associations have made it a bonus for everybody.
“With our association, we have a good fellowship of churches,” he said. “There’s a food ministry, Bags of Hope, that will all contribute in. The two mission strategists met together and determined our areas and streets. It’s been really great.”
Each church used a different strategy in how and when they would distribute the Gospel to Every Home materials which included information about events coming up at their church.
Briensburg Baptist was assigned 2,400 homes and worked it over a six-week period while promoting an Easter celebration for children, the Easter service itself and a revival service with Kenny Rager, a KBC consultant.
New Harmony is sending out teams every Monday night as it takes the gospel to more than 1,200 homes. It has become a part of the church’s outreach program that had been shut down for more than a year by COVID-19.
Zion’s Cause is waiting until August to begin its Gospel to Every Home push. They will also be holding Revival in Every Church event leading up to its GTEH blitz, Frazier said.
Here is a look at what each church has done or is planning to do:
BRIENSBURGWalker said his workers participating in the Gospel to Every Home found that many of the homes they visited, especially the ones toward Kentucky Lake, weren’t from the area.
“It was eye-opening to our folks,” he said. “They don’t have the same background with the gospel that we do. Everybody has heard a little bit with maybe some access to the gospel. But it has been good for our folks to recognize that we don’t know our neighbors as well as we think we do.”
He said the distributing led to some gospel conversations that were unexpected.
“We’ve had others who didn’t realize they had a neighbor who was somebody they went to school with,” Walker said.
Located in a more rural area, Walker said they went several miles from the church. “We were going all the way to the lake at the edge of the county.”
Walker did a series of sermons leading up to a six-week blitz. He took into account COVID-19, but found most people willing to participate where they had a lot of “front porch conversations.”
“We took all the precautions we could. We found some people were excited to see somebody because we were the first person they had talked to in several months. They were happy to have somebody come up and talk to them about something. If that’s Jesus, then great!”
It was also eye-opening he said to find out how many homes aren’t that far from the church. He went down his own rural road with a deacon and there were 56 homes.
“Many times people said this is the first church that’s ever invited them,” Walker said.
He received one anonymous note thanking him for having the church share the gospel in the community.
“I think people are desperately in need for some hope right now,” he said. “To know people are reaching out means a lot right now.”
Penick said while he doesn’t have as many participating in the Gospel to Every Home project as he would like, it has still led to a revitalized outreach program. They have teams going out every Monday night.
He has found that neighbors were more willing to talk on Mondays than on Friday or Saturdays.
New Harmony had a robust visitation program before COVID but that stopped because of the pandemic. Penick is trying to revive it and use the GTEH as the catalyst.
“Our visitors that are going out are very evangelistic in nature,” he said. “They’re asking the questions. What we’re finding in home after home are folks are not in church right now for various reasons. The COVID had a lot to do with that. But most of the people are willing to talk.”
He said it has been “heartbreaking” that so many are not in church and in need of Jesus.
“You also come across those who have been in church enough to know the right answers but have no evidence in their life” of being a Christian, Penick said. “That’s heartbreaking, too.”
He said one team visited a middle-aged couple who advised them to speak with their parents who had gone to the church previously. Penick said they called and the couple, who are in their 80s, came to church and said they’d be back.
“We’re seeing some great things,” he said.
New Harmony has adopted about 1,200 homes.
ZION’S CAUSEFrazier said because of COVID-19, they decided to push their GTEH blitz back to the end of August.
“If we had done the March thing, we couldn’t have got many people on board,” he said. “Most of them didn’t have the vaccine yet. They didn’t feel comfortable. I wanted us to be free from that.”
He said many church members were thankful for the pause until August and Frazier expects healthy participation. He wants 50 teams of two people to take on the task.
“I want to do some prayer driving and get familiar with the areas and the roads,” he said. “We’re going to try and get it covered over four Sunday nights.”
Frazier is planning a revival with evangelist John Reed as a kickoff along with making sure GTEH is covered in prayer. He said they have 1,000 homes to visit but “that’s just scratching the surface” and “that’s not getting in Brad’s door or Scott’s door at all.”