By Kristen White
Kentucky Woman’s Missionary Union
Third in a series of Eliza Broadus Offering impact stories.
Can a fresh baked cookie change a life? Can a wild game dinner recharge a church? What do these have in common? They are tools used by churches to reach people for Christ through Affinity Evangelism.
“Through Kentucky Baptists’ evangelism strategy, Affinity Evangelism, we are seeing lives, churches and communities utterly transformed,” said Chuck McAlister, team leader for KBC’s Evangelism, Church Planting and Collegiate Ministries.
When Randy Boyd, of Grapevine Baptist Church in Madisonville, contacted McAlister about hosting a wild game dinner in March 2013, he had no idea what God was about to do. The church worked hard to gather door prizes, prepare food and invite the community.
McAlister had the men on the edge of their seats with stories of hunting expeditions. Then, it was time for an explanation of the One who created the great outdoors—the God who loved these men enough to send His Son for them.
During the response, 128 men gave their hearts to Christ.
McAlister recently stopped in Madisonville to meet with Grapevine’s staff about this year’s wild game dinner. The room was filled with men ready to work toward giving more people the opportunity to hear about Jesus Christ.
“I was greeted by men who became Christians at the first wild game dinner. These men had plugged into the church. They didn’t just mark a card. Their lives were changed,” McAlister said.
Affinity Evangelism is a nonthreatening strategy churches can use to reach their communities for Christ. Using the surveys and advice given in the Affinity Evangelism Workbook, churches can assess the interests of families and individuals in their community, then select an evangelistic approach that will appeal to people who may never feel comfortable attending a traditional church service or revival.
Since its introduction at RISK in 2013, this workbook has been used in hundreds of churches in Kentucky, other states, and even other nations. It is provided free to churches online or in print thanks to EBO funding.
“By meeting people where they are and showing you care about their needs, they will be more receptive to hearing the message you share about Christ and they may come plant their lives in your church,” said Andy McDonald, KBC Affinity Evangelism Strategist. “Some churches have found that kids in their community want to learn archery skills. Some churches have hosted other kinds of sports leagues, motorcycle rides, wild game dinners, or women’s events. There is no limit to the type of emphasis a church could have, but the uniting factor is a clear Gospel presentation.”
Employees at the KBC have started their own Affinity Evangelism outreach this year. With help from Kentucky WMU, KBC employees took cookies to more than 200 business people in Louisville and invited them to leadership lunches held once a month. As KBC employees reach out to business people through this affinity, the hope is that friendships will be built and lives will be changed.
What do families in your community care about? Find out—and start there to reach them with the Good News that Jesus loves them. For help determining your Affinity Evangelism strategy, contact Andy McDonald at the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
Thank God for the effective and creative ways in which churches are reaching out to their communities. Ask God for a continued resurgence in evangelistic efforts of local churches. Pray that many people who have never heard a clear explanation of Jesus Christ will come to Affinity Evangelism events this year and decide to follow Him.