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‘Kindness Explosion’ motivates Christians to be more ‘on


RIDGECREST, N.C. (BP)–They called it “Kindness Explosion,” an opportunity on the last day of the On Mission ’99 conference to demonstrate Christ’s love by distributing free soft drinks, light bulbs, water and even change in a coin laundry.
Although immediate decisions were not necessarily the ultimate goal, six individuals made professions of faith in Christ during just over an hour of actual ministry. And perhaps just as importantly, conference participants were able to put into immediate action the awakening the week’s events had prompted to the desperate spiritual needs around them.
“It builds a fire up in your heart, a desire for the Lord,” Marshall Dill said of his first-time experience conducting a door-to-door evangelistic survey — one of the few traditional evangelistic tools used in the project. “This is something I am going to take back to my church and start it in the fall — maybe sooner, as on-fire as I am now.”
The June 26-July 2 conference was designed to helping leaders awaken their own congregations to become “on-mission” churches — full of people committed to a lifestyle of leading people to a relationship with Christ.
Sponsored by the North American Mission Board, the conference was held at the Ridgecrest (N.C.) Conference Center. The Kindness Explosion event continued a NAMB tradition in recent years of including hands-on evangelism and ministry opportunities in surrounding communities as part of its conferences.
Dill, a lay minister and member of West Point Baptist Church, Rutherfordton, N.C., said he always has been reluctant to do door-to-door evangelism because of the perceptions created by other non-Christian groups. “When I got here, at first I said, ‘Let me just give out water or give out Coke — anything but that,” he said. “But the Lord worked on me.”
Whatever apprehensions he had left as soon as he started on the survey, which included questions on spiritual needs in the community followed by an opportunity to share the gospel if the resident was interested. The group worked in association with Reed Memorial Baptist Church in nearby Asheville.
“The Holy Spirit just overwhelmed me, and I was not afraid,” Dill said. “I was afraid of how Marshall was going too do it, but Marshall didn’t do it. It was the Holy Spirit working through Marshall.”
Elsewhere in Asheville, a group in an apartment complex offered residents a free bottle of spring water with an evangelistic message on the label. One group that included church planter Trevor Davis also took the opportunity to ask residents if they’d like to hear about “the greatest thing that ever happened to me.”
Two women accepted Christ — one had grown up in the home of Jehovah’s Witnesses and had been seeking answers to her confusing questions, and the other was a practicing lesbian. She asked for help for the friend she knew was now going to have to move out of her apartment.
“She said, ‘I’d like to become a Christian, but I know I don’t want to leave her on the street,’” said Davis, who will launch Great Commission Baptist Church this fall as a mission of First Baptist Church of Olive Branch, Miss.
Bottles of water were also distributed in a local park by youth participating in “Mission Lab ‘99” held simultaneously with the adult conference. The giveaway prompted conversations with two boys who ultimately prayed to receive Christ.
Another newcomer to door-to-door evangelism was Michaelle Shultz, a member of First Baptist Church, Beltsville, Md., who has been a Christian only about a year.
She and her church’s Woman’s Mission Union director, Gail Salgao, were burdened by the spiritual darkness they had witnessed in Asheville a few days earlier and had been praying for the city since that time. They were excited when they learned of the opportunity to go back bearing the light of Christ.
On one of the few visits they were able to make during the short time allotted for their surveys, she and Salgao were able to lead an elderly man to faith in Christ.
“I am very shy, but God has just been revealing this to us all week,” Shultz said. “It has been awesome. … But if not for the power of God, I wouldn’t have been able to do it.”