Western N.C. church reach people with 'Jesus' videos
October 18 2002 by

Western N.C. church reach people with 'Jesus' videos | Friday, Oct. 18, 2002

Friday, Oct. 18, 2002

Western N.C. churches reach people with 'Jesus' videos

From wire and staff reports

One hundred and twelve western N.C. Baptist churches participated in the "Jesus Video Project" by distributing the "Jesus" film to 102,195 postal addresses in Alexander, Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Mitchell and Yancey counties during the week of Sept. 11. A total of 187 churches in the six-county area participated in the project.

The "Jesus" film is an 83-minute video presentation based on the gospel of Luke. It has a strong evangelistic thrust, and a simple plan of salvation is offered at the end with an invitation to receive Jesus Christ as Savior.

It all started when Terry Whitson, southeast field director of the Jesus Film Project, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ International, spoke to the Mitchell County Pastors Conference in early 2001. Steve Sisk, pastor of Altapass Baptist Church in Spruce Pine, was so impressed with the evangelistic possibilities of the film that he took steps to get a project started in Mitchell County.

Soon a project manager and steering committee were named.

The steering committee decided the project should be nondenominational, so every church in the county was invited to participate.

By late 2001, the support of several churches and individuals had generated enough money to cover all the mail drops in Mitchell County. It was then discovered that there were not enough mail drops in Mitchell County to qualify for the quantity discount for bulk postal delivery.

The logical option was to recruit another county to increase the number of mail drops. Churches in Avery and Yancey counties agreed to participate and a little later, churches in Burke, Alexander and a portion of Caldwell counties joined in.

With these additional counties and more fund raising success, the committee had 102,195 mail drops, enough to qualify for the lowest postage rate. The final cost was $2.50 per video, which included all expenses.

The Jesus Video Project committee plans to have spiritual and statistical follow up in a couple months after people have had an opportunity to watch the film.

Since the film was released in 1979, the worldwide viewing audience, as of July 1, totals 5.1 billion people, according to the Jesus Film Project.

The film has been translated into 743 languages and shown in 236 countries, territories and protectorates. In addition, an audio version of the film, "The Story of Jesus," is available in 226 of the 743 worldwide languages. Over the years, 1,529 mission agencies and denominations have used the film, along with the current 2,756 Jesus film teams.

Southern Baptists continue to be the largest global distributors of the film through International Mission Board teams. In fact, the distribution efforts are so widespread that the mission agency is "unable to keep track of the incredible quantities and creative variety of 'Jesus' film uses," said Mark Snowden, IMB overseas communications director.

"In many places we widely distribute the movie in the marketplace, tourist destinations or to seamen in strategic ports," Snowden said. "In other places, a multiple-language DVD is quietly handed to a seeker who encounters a believer. We also have distributed the 'Jesus' film in a special audio format on radio and cassette."

The "Jesus" film project was started by Campus Crusade for Christ International founder Bill Bright, who had a vision for an appealing biblically accurate film about the life of Christ.

In the mid-1970s a team of 500 scholars and leaders from a number of Christian and secular organizations began a five-year effort focusing on how best to portray Jesus on the motion picture screen.

The film was produced at a cost of $6 million and, according to the project's website, www.jesusfilm.org, has been viewed in every country of the world.

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