August 16th, 2012 at 10:27 am
COTULLA – For First Baptist Church members, sharing the gospel with the world begins with reaching a unique group of newcomers they feel God has placed in their community.
The congregation recently distributed 750 gift bags in RV parks that are temporarily housing oil field workers who are working the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas. The new Cotulla residents came from across the country, will work in the area and then move on to the next job – in Texas or beyond.
Jonathan Tripp, the church’s youth pastor, hopes the oil field brings workers an encounter with Christ as well as employment.
“When you reach out to these guys, it’s not just reaching out to them in Cotulla,” Tripp said. “It’s making a global missionary. If they make a decision for Christ, they’re going to take that with them on their next job, whether that’s here or in Canada.”
For some oil field workers, that encounter with Christ began with the bags. Within 20 minutes of handing out the first bags – which were filled with cookies, a notepad, a pen, information about the church, a Bible and a gospel tract provided by Texas Baptists – one of the families called the church indicating they would be part of the worship service the following Sunday.
Members saw oil field workers reading the Bible shortly after receiving it. A few nights later, several people visited the church, the free Bible in hand. The following Sunday, two more families had the Bible when they visited the church.
One man’s appreciation particularly touched Tripp. “He was so thankful. He left so fast for work, he left his Bible at home. Now he had one.”
Watching the response has encouraged the congregation to continue reaching out to their new neighbors.
“It’s been neat to see,” Tripp said.
Texas Baptists Congregational Strategist Fred Ater is assisting churches in reaching out to oil field workers on the Eagle Ford Shale. For information about getting involved, visit www.texasbaptists.org/oilfield
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