Saturate USA

If you live in Augusta County, you probably received a plastic bag with a DVD, a gospel tract and a church invitation in it yesterday. These bags were packed by people living in your community who go to one of the dozens of churches that have joined together to make sure that every home in the county received one.

This spring, Dave Anthony, a member of Calvary Baptist in Staunton, felt God leading him to organize bag distribution in our area — similar bags have already been, or will soon be, passed out all around the nation as part of a project called Saturate USA.

The goal is simple — make sure as many people as possible have a chance to hear about their only hope for salvation, salvation in Jesus Christ alone. Dave cast this vision to area pastors, and many churches accepted the invitation to join in this endeavor. Those churches believe in Jesus’s command to go where the people are and make disciples, inviting people to turn away from their sin and turn to Jesus.

We know not everyone will open their bags. As soon as some saw the word Jesus on the DVD yesterday and realized there weren’t any gift cards or snacks in the bag, they tossed their gifts into the trash can. We aren’t surprised that many reacted that way.

We know that many others opened their bags but didn’t read the tract, watch the movie or come to any of our churches. In reality, that’s probably the response of the majority of folks who received these bags — most who received them are unchurched, non-believers who have little interest in the things of God. Again, we understood that from the moment we agreed to take on this great task.

We also know this: Jesus said when speaking to His disciples that the “harvest is plentiful” (Matthew 9:36). What did He mean by that? As Jesus looked at the large crowds that gathered to hear him speak and at the larger groups of people that continued about their busy, hectic day without giving him any thought, he focused not on their current brokenness, but on the fact that many would respond positively to His call to follow him.

Jesus was reminding his disciples, both the ones who walked with him then as well as those of us who follow him now, that there are many who will follow, if invited. We need not focus on the ones who won’t, but instead we focus on the many who will! We set out all over the county with these bags because we know that there are some who will open them. They will flip through the little booklet in it and consider whether the good news in it could possibly be true. They will pop the DVD in their laptops and learn who this Jesus is, this Jesus who changed the world as the most remarkable (and polarizing) being to ever walk this earth. They will accept the invite to a local church- some of them are getting ready to go to church for the first time right now as you read this!

Because of the efforts of this coalition, seeds have been planted across Augusta County, and some are already beginning to take root. Yes, we know that the majority of the 50,000 bags that were passed out won’t be taken seriously. If just 10 percent are, what a blessing that 5,000 are thankful for their gift. And what if 10 percent of those respond in some way to the saving news of the gospel? And what if only one does? It will still be worth it, without a doubt!

Join me now in praying for those whose bags are still sitting on the kitchen table waiting to be opened. Pray for those who are considering visiting a church today for the first time. Pray for those who read that booklet or watched that film and know in their hearts that it is true — pray that today would be the day of their salvation in Jesus Christ alone! Thank you to the churches that have participated and thank you for those who are praying right now.

“Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked ... But some men joined him and believed ...” (Acts 17:32-33).

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Mark Wingfield, pastor of First Baptist Church

in Grottoes, is a columnist for The News Virginian.

His column is published Saturdays.

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