It was out of a commitment to, and confidence in, God's Word that the churches of the West Union Baptist Association in Paducah decided to partner together in a weekend gospel outreach.
Jason Barnett, Minister to Students at Twelve Oaks Baptist Church, has had an interest in apologetics (defending the Christian faith) for a long time. In recent years, with the help of area church partners, he has assembled apologetics themed conferences aimed at equipping students and church members to defend the faith. However, the "Without a Doubt" conference and outreach weekend March 15-17 was the biggest effort so far.
The "Without a Doubt" event was held at Heartland Worship Center with more than 1,000 high school and middle school students attending. There were at least four students who professed faith in Christ and three leaders from neighboring counties expressed interest in starting a Ratio Christi chapter (an apologetics group) in their high schools.
On Sunday afternoon, March 17, at least 12 West Union Baptist Association churches joined for a local evangelistic outreach. The goal was to go into the neighborhoods, knock on doors and share the gospel with as many people as possible. Some would say that door-to-door evangelism is an old and outdated approach to sharing the gospel and should be replaced with something else. However, in Paducah the idea of going door-to-door came from some of the younger pastors.
Pastor Dan Summerlin of Lone Oak First Baptist said, "When you have a group of young pastors who want to go into the community and share the gospel you shouldn't stand in their way."
They went to nearly 3,000 homes and had gospel conversations with 447 people and recorded eight professions of faith. Pastor Dan reported on Twitter, "Yesterday over 170 members of @LoneOakFBC went door-to-door in neighborhoods to present the gospel. Our members made 1,028 contacts, had 73 gospel conversations and had two people give their lives to Christ." These are exciting and impressive results. Mike Nolen, pastor of Bellview Baptist in Paducah said, "We discovered 12 new prospects in about an hour and a half. It reinforced the idea that knocking on doors still works. We're the ones who get the blessings. Number one we are obeying the Lord, number two we are sowing the seeds of the gospel and number three we may see a harvest."
The weekend was capped off with a celebration rally at Twelve Oaks Baptist, where a standing room only crowd joined together in worship and celebration. Dr. Steve Ayers of Hillvue Heights Baptist Church in Bowling Green was selected as the guest preacher. Dr. Ayers brought a strong appeal for the people to continue to be intentionally evangelistic. When the invitation was given, the altar was filled with people responding to the call to be ambassadors for Christ to lost people and to share the gospel.
According to Jason Barnett, "It was a great weekend of discipleship and evangelism. It was also a great cooperative effort among Southern Baptists in Paducah." Jason mentioned Associational Missions Strategist Howard Atkinson as a key person to make the event a success. Barnett went on to say, "I would personally love to see West Union do this again next year. I would love to be a part of that."
Todd Gray is team leader of KBC Evangelism, church Planting and Campus Ministry Team.