MT. VERNON, Ky. (KT) – Pastor Dennis Wilder was excited from the first time he heard about the “Gospel To Every Home” initiative of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
That energy spilled over into his congregation, who spilled out into the city limits of Mt. Vernon on Saturday afternoon. Nearly four dozen members of First Baptist Church Mt. Vernon handed out more than 1,100 gospel bags to homes over a three-hour period.
They did all of that with social distancing guidelines every step of the way. Those who packed wore gloves and masks. Then the bags sat for two weeks, just to be sure there would be no COVID-19 germs on them.
After passing out the gospel bags on Saturday they celebrated on Sunday – with ice cream.
“We’ve had nothing but positive comments from the community,” Wilder said. “People were receptive and happy to see us out. We may have had a handful of folks say no thank you, but it was 99% positive. We had a great day.”
What made the day even greater was a gospel conversation that led to an older gentleman coming to salvation in Jesus Christ.
Randy McPheron, the association missions strategist of the Rockcastle County Association of Kentucky Baptists, saw the man sitting by himself in a back yard under a shade tree. He said the Lord nudged him in the gentleman’s direction where he found a broken soul ready to talk about spiritual matters.
“The dude was waiting” for someone to share the gospel, McPheron said. “He was wanting somebody to explain it to him. He had some questions, and we had a few obstacles, but that dude was full-on ready. I brought him back over to Dennis after he made his decision.”
The man said he didn’t know where he could go to church so McPheron told him to pray about it and then took him over to Wilder for an introduction. “I said, ‘Here, the Lord has answered your prayer.’’’
It turns out the gentleman had been to FBC Mt. Vernon to watch a baptism. “He is my associate pastor-student pastor’s sister-in-law’s father-in-law,” Wilder said. “We baptized my student pastor’s niece and they came to church to see her baptized.”
It will soon be his turn to be baptized in the church – and all because of the "Gospel To Every Home."
Those who hit the streets were asked to wear gloves and masks. They were told to avoid knocking on doors because of COVID-19. They were to leave the bags, which also had a sticker on them marked that the bags had been packed following CDC guidelines, on the door handles.
“I told them don’t act like a bandit and start running away from people,” the pastor said. “We want to be friendly and open. If you see somebody outside, talk to them. The people we got to talk to were basically folks being outdoors that day. God blessed us with a good day. It was cloudy and kind of warm.”
Eighteen teams of 2-4 people hit the streets. The pastor said there were 45 who came out, which is about half the number who have been coming to church since COVID.
The gospel bags were packed with a DVD Jesus film and tracts from Saturate USA, a KBC half-page card with a gospel presentation and a Gospel of John marked that included a gospel presentation. It also included a half-page card with information about FBC Mt. Vernon that including information on the church's ministries, their website, and service times.
Wilder said he is completely sold on the “Gospel To Every Home” initiative and was never intimidated by it calling on Kentucky Baptists to reach 1.7 million homes.
“I don’t have to take the gospel to every home in Kentucky,” he said. “God has given me Mt. Vernon. This is our community, and these are the people God has given us to reach. It says in Acts 1:8 to take the gospel to Jerusalem, Judea, and the uttermost parts of the world. It’s all-inclusive. It’s hard for me to say, ‘Let’s go to India and do a mission trip’ if we’re not willing to go to Mt. Vernon and share the gospel.”
McPheron said Wilder was a “good leader with a good plan” on spreading the gospel. He said doing it now, instead of waiting until spring was the right decision for them.
“People are lonely and they’re hungry. People were so receptive. They were just waiting for somebody to come by,” McPheron said.
For more information about the initiative visit kybaptist.org/gteh.