December 16th, 2009 at 2:29 pm
PERRYTON – This Christmas season, three Perryton Baptist churches are sharing hope with Ochiltree County as they pray for needs in the community and go door-to-door giving neighbors a bag filled with homemade bread or cookies, information about the churches and a Texas Hope 2010 evangelistic multimedia compact disc containing Scripture, gospel testimonies and links to the New Testament in more than 400 languages.
More than 130 members from First Baptist Church, Key Heights Baptist Church and Southside Baptist Church are in the process of delivering goodie bags to all 3,000 homes in Perryton before Christmas. The group will deliver CDs to the remaining 400 homes in Ochiltree County after the holidays.
“My initial goal is to get people to see that there are people in our community who are unchurched,” said Richard Laverty, pastor of First Baptist Church. “I think we know that, but this puts a face to that. I want to see a genuine consensus from our churches to be a part of their lives.”
The effort is part of Texas Hope 2010, an evangelistic emphasis by Texas Baptists to pray for the lost, care the hurting and hungry and share the hope of Christ with all Texans in ways they can respond in their own way and language by Easter 2010.
“We want to see the Texas Hope 2010 goal of seeing people find the Lord as their Savior,” Laverty said. “We are hoping to see people come to the Lord by Easter, but also we want people to know that Christ is out there to help with their issues. There are a lot of people with broken marriages and hard lives, and Christ can help.”
Alta Williams, coordinator of the Ochiltree County CD distribution, said that the plan was kept simple, allowing all types people and ages with various talents to take part. Some stuffed the CD bags while others baked bread or delivered the gifts to the 19 areas mapped out in the city.
“We have tried to keep it as simple as possible to help lay people understand that they can just go to the door and be who they are,” Williams said. “We told them to prayer walk their area and drive through to see who may be home. Then the Lord will open doors if He sees fit.”
A few volunteers performed skits in the worship service to show how to knock on someone’s door and initiate conversations, helping relieve any fears about the outreach efforts, Laverty said.
“We walked them through presenting the CD and how to answer people’s questions,” he said. “We are doing this to alleviate some fears that have surfaced a little bit of going out and sharing with other people. As people have gone out, the testimony has come back that this isn’t as bad as they thought. We want to take away the intimidation and help people actually share Christ.”
Williams shared with the volunteers that as believers, they are already equipped to share the hope of Christ and have an opportunity to share that with their community.
“Basically, if you have Christ in your heart, you can share,” Williams said. “You can share what He has done in your life.”
Terry Williams, pastor of Key Heights Baptist Church, said he sees the effort as a way to open the eyes of the Perryton church to the needs in the community as well as invite the town to be a part of the church family.
“The main emphasis is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and this is a way to do it,” he said.”We are a close nit community, and we have several churches in town. But we also realize the vast majority of our population doesn’t go anywhere.”
Alta Williams agrees, stating that she hopes the people who receive the CD will be impacted by the Word of God and that the volunteers will be impacted as they allow the Holy Spirit to use them to share the gospel message.
“My hope and dream is that the people of my church and the churches in the area will come to know and see the need in our community, to see how many people are lost in our area and see that they can reach out to those,” she said. “I hope they will be open to building relationships and see no matter how small the effort they make, it can help.”
Laverty is also using the outreach project as a way to encourage his congregation to build intentional relationships where they can share the hope of Christ with someone by Easter 2010.
“Our goal is for each person in our congregation to personally witness and lead someone to Christ by Easter Sunday 2010,” Laverty said. “We want them to be prepared and then go by the leading of the Holy Spirit and share through that. I’ve been teaching some sermons on sharing your faith, and we’ve been encouraging them to establish relationships and witness through that.”
As the church completes the distribution, Laverty is confident that God is working through the effort, not only in the hearts of church members to become bold in their faith but also in drawing some of those in the community to Him.
“The church is very strong in foreign missions, but the heart of the church is to say missions is also right here,” Laverty said. “This is our Jerusalem. The church has taken it to heart, and it’s exciting. I think we will see a lot of good results from this in the future.”