Published February 1, 2021
As churches consider what life and ministry will look like after the COVID-19 pandemic, many are rethinking their strategies in sharing the gospel. Some Kentucky Baptists are busy looking to shift their approach from being "property-centered to community-centered," according to Rob Patterson, Kentucky Baptist Convention evangelism team leader.
"Many churches are realizing that their evangelism was too dependent on programs and gathering on the property," Patterson said. "While both are important, many are realizing we must more effectively equip our people for personal evangelism."
Developed long before the pandemic was on the horizon, the Gospel to Every Home initiative is a great way to help a church navigate this redirection, Patterson says. He believes churches could start by reaching the homes nearest them.
"We want churches to begin to see the homes near their physical location with a higher level of accountability again," Patterson said.
"What would it take? What would it look like for us to have a meaningful conversation with that house? Just to start with, the one that you can see right from your church. What would it take just to have at least a good gospel conversation?"
Patterson knows some see the Gospel to Every Home as a call to simply hang a bag of resources on the front door of a neighbor's home, but he says, "Obviously the front door piece is important. Otherwise, how can we know that we have actually engaged that home? However, it is just one part of a more comprehensive approach.
"We're going to go wherever God leads us. We're going to cooperate and partner to get the gospel to the ends of the earth. But one of the foundations of the Gospel to Every Home is the conviction that we are uniquely accountable before the Lord for the homes in closet proximity to our local church," said Patterson.
He's counting on that new level of accountability to motivate churches to reach people in their community. Patterson believes God has placed churches in strategic locations across Kentucky. "Many of our churches bear the names of our communities because we're here for them. My prayer is that this initiative renews the passion of not just being a church in the community, but becoming 'the church for our community.'
"I think the amazing thing the phrase 'gospel to every home' did for us is it took the great commission from a 30,000-foot concept to a measurable goal," Patterson said.
Patterson's goal, though, is not to generate statistics — but to penetrate lostness in Kentucky.
"Slow down the next time you're driving in your neighborhood or to your church and resonate on the fact that in at least six out of every 10 homes, someone is lost in that home. Statistics show eight out of every 10 homes is unchurched."
As of publication, Kentucky Baptist churches have committed to reaching 1,691,035 of 1,728,681 by the end of 2021. Information about Gospel to Every Home is available at kybaptist.org/gospel.
Brandon Porter is communications director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
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