GPS: An ‘audacious’ vision to reach America
    January 19 2010 by Jerry Pipes, NAMB, Prayer and Spiritual Awakening Team

    Once again, Southern Baptists have accepted the challenge to reach North America with the gospel.

    God’s Plan for Sharing (GPS) is very simply a dream — every believer sharing, every person hearing. To put it even more succinctly, GPS is the vision of fulfilling the Great Commission in North America by 2020. Just like Bold Mission Thrust of a generation ago, GPS is an audacious vision.

    The first step on this journey is called “Across North America.” The goal is to reach every home in the United States and Canada through prayer walking, gospel distribution, and an invitation to attend church on Easter Sunday. It’s the first of six, two-year campaigns that will carry GPS through 2020.

    North Carolina Baptist evangelism leaders are promoting a customized version of GPS called “Find it here.” North Carolina specific resources are available from the evangelism office at (919) 459-5557 or at www.finditherenc.org.

    Across North America in 2010 consists of four simple components:
    • A three-week targeted media saturation taking place March 20 through April 11 (TV, radio, billboards, newspapers, etc).
    • Participating churches prayer walking their communities on the weekend of March 20.
    • Participating churches on March 27 distributing clear bags containing a “Find It Here” gospel drop-in piece and an invitation to Easter services to each home in their surrounding neighborhoods.
    • Participating churches conducting a five-week follow-up process after Easter.
    I’m often asked, “How can something so simple make such a big difference?”

    When you get God’s people to do God things, He shows up and makes a huge Kingdom difference.

    A great example is a church that participated in one of four GPS pilot projects last spring. At the time they were running about 300 in Bible study.

    BP photo

    Segey Tseona, left, a member of Lifeway Baptist Church, a Russian-speaking church in Philadelphia, discusses the gospel with a shopper.


    The pastor had lost his vision, and the church was in decline. Seventy-five members joined the pastor in prayer walking the community. As they prayer walked, God broke their hearts for their community and a new vision was born. Instead of just hanging the bags on the doors, the members engaged lost people in the community as God opened doors for conversation.

    The vision didn’t stop there. Those who participated began to recognize opportunities to share the gospel in their circles of influence.

    To make a long story short, they had their largest attendance in 10 years on Easter Sunday and baptized 19 people.

    Imagine what would happen if 50,000 Southern Baptist churches and missions joined hands and hearts and moved “Across North America” together. We would touch every home in North America with the gospel, millions would begin relationships with Christ, families would be restored and communities and churches would be transformed.

    Author Tim Sanders captures the spirit of GPS: Across North America in his bestseller, Saving the World at Work.

    Sanders recalls the story of Steve, who heard Tim’s challenge, “If there are people in your life who are important to you, and you haven’t given them sufficient recognition in the last three months, shame on you. If you have reduced your relationships to e-mail threads, shame on you.”

    Steve managed nine engineers and felt guilty about the lack of personal interaction he had with them. So, he met with all nine and shared a word of praise for something related to their job performance. He also encouraged them in their personal lives and appreciated them as individuals.

    Two days after Steve’s round of encouragement, Lenny entered Steve’s cubicle with a gift: an Xbox along with a video game. Steve was thrilled but wondered how Lenny could afford such a lavish gift. He was stunned when Lenny told him, “I sold my chrome-plated 9mm semiautomatic.”

    He continued, “I’ve worked here two years, and if I died, you would only find out from payroll... That’s how disconnected I thought you were from me ... I don’t have a single friend in the company.”

    Lenny said his only friend was the Internet, and it was there he found the “suicide chat rooms.”

    Lenny had started a three-month process of preparing himself to pull the trigger.

    “I was almost there... Then the other day ... you came into my cubicle,” Lenny whispered. “You told me, ‘Lenny, I’m glad you came into my life.’”

    That very day, Lenny sold the gun and bought the Xbox. With tears streaming down his face he said, “Sir, in exchange for my life, my soul, this gift is for you.”

    GPS: Across North America and the story of Steve and Lenny are alike. They call for urgency and simplicity. There are Lennys all around us. They are our family, friends, co-workers and neighbors. Their need is urgent and not complicated.

    They quickly need a word of encouragement and the simple message of the gospel.

    May God use GPS: Across North America to move Southern Baptists to live and share with urgency. This is the first step of what will be one of the most exciting journeys we as Southern Baptists will ever take.
 

    To find out more about how your church can connect with GPS nationally, contact Sarah Whitfield at swhitfield@namb.net or (770) 410-6390. Also visit www.gps2020.net.  

    Praying across North America
    You’re invited to pray for every heart and every mile of North America, focusing specifically on those who need a relationship with Jesus Christ.

    Here are some ways you can prepare:
    1. Pray with insight. Be aware of where you are praying. What do you see along the way? Do you see children’s toys? Then pray for that family. Do you see a street lamp? Pray that people will discover the light of Christ and that believers will be a light to the world.
    2. Pray with intentionality. While we should always be sensitive to how the Holy Spirit leads us to pray, March 20 is a day to intentionally pray for those who need a personal relationship with Christ. Begin now to pray specifically for those in your community who need to hear the gospel.
    3. Pray with the heart of an intercessor. An intercessor is someone who “stands in the gap” — a gap between one person and their need for God or for God to work in their life. As people prayer walk, look for opportunities to pray with people for people’s needs.
    4. Pray with information. Do you know who lives in your community? How many single parents are there? What kind of crime rate is in your community? What unreached people groups live in your town? Be open to learning about the “hidden” needs in your community.
    5. Pray with inspiration. Prayer walk with scripture verses. Pray God’s promises.
    6. Pray for the impossible and expect God to answer. Don’t limit God and His ability to answer prayer. Pray big. Pray for those who are lost with faith that God can redeem anyone. (Ephesians 3:20 and Hebrews 11:6) 
    Related story
    10 steps for implementing GPS
    1/19/2010 2:35:00 AM by Jerry Pipes, NAMB, Prayer and Spiritual Awakening Team | with 0 comments




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