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Mapping Center to help track Celebrate Jesus 2000 progress


ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–How do you pray by name for every
household in America, and keep track of the progress on a
national scale? That was the challenge faced by Toby Frost,
manager of event evangelism for the North American Mission
Board, in helping churches complete one of the key goals of
the Celebrate Jesus 2000 evangelism initiative.
One early suggestion was for churches to simply divide
up the pages of the phone book and have individuals pray for
the names listed. Now Frost has found a better way.
Through the Mapping Center for Evangelism —
established jointly last year by the North American Mission
Board and Campus Crusade for Christ — evangelical churches
have an opportunity to receive names and addresses,
organized by neighborhood, for an entire zip code.
With the comprehensive information, the church can pray
for families in their chosen zip code street by street. The
lists and maps also can serve as an easy guide for follow-up
witnessing and other outreach efforts. Households that have
been prayed for can be plotted on maps, and the information
can be tracked on a national scale.
“For the first time we have a strategy where we can
share Christ in an effective, non-threatening, clear way
with every household on this continent,” Frost said
“It gives us a way we can grid this nation off into
manageable bites, and churches can take an area and claim it
for Christ.”
Celebrate Jesus 2000 is an interdenominational
evangelistic effort with a goal of giving everyone in the
world an opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel by
the end of the year 2000. One of the components is the
prayer effort, which will serve as a foundation for follow-
up visits and invitations to evangelistic events.
As a first step toward participation, Frost said he is
encouraging each church to seek God’s direction about what
zip code (or portion of a zip code) to claim. An average zip
code represents between 5,000 and 10,000 addresses.
Participating churches will then be sent the
comprehensive package of neighborhood maps, along with every
listed name, address and phone number. An instruction and
resource sheet will also provide further guidance on prayer
methods, such as prayerwalking, and extra instructional
resources that can be ordered.
“The bottom line is we can know who has been prayed
for, and the name and address of every person who’s not been
prayed for,” Frost said.
There is also another level of participation in which
churches will receive not only the list for their chosen zip
code, but also the entire software/database package from
which the lists are developed. The access comes in a
membership in The Mapping Center for Evangelism at a cost of
$250 per year.
The software available to member organizations will
enable them to generate their own mailing lists,
automatically plot members and prospects on maps, and view
demographic data from census reports. The database supplied
to members would include not only their zip code, but also
as much as an entire state or region.
Existing church databases can be imported into the
software. One automatic feature is a prayer guide for each
church member that shows names and addresses of all of their
neighbors, with other church members noted.
Previously, Frost said, other database programs have
provided access to census data with mapping capabilities,
but not combined with the telephone directory listing and
nine-digit zip code data that allows each address to be
assigned a specific location on a neighborhood map.
The zip code data allows each nine-digit zip code to be
tracked to a specific location that usually includes only
about four or five homes, said Chris Cooper, executive
director for the Mapping Center.
South Carolina Baptist Convention evangelism leaders
already have committed to sponsoring membership for each of
the 43 associations in the state. With the software and
databases on hand, the associations can generate the zip
code prayer lists locally, as well as provide other
information for churches as needs arise.
NAMB and Mapping Center leaders are encouraging all
associations to become members. Associations then would be
able to provide information not only to SBC churches but
other evangelical churches participating in Celebrate Jesus
2000.
The North American Mission Board also is generating
ideas of its own on how such information could be put to
use. Of particular interest is using the information as a
resource for church planters. They could learn both the
makeup of their area and be able to track and map all
prospects.
“We’ll be able … to help like we’ve never been able
to help before,” said Tom Cheyney, a leadership enlistment
associate in the NAMB church planting group.
The software and database information is supplied on
CD-ROM and can only be used with computers using the
Microsoft Windows ’95 operating system.
To claim a zip code or receive further information,
churches should contact Toby Frost at the North American
Mission Board, (770) 410-6304.

    About the Author

  • James Dotson