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Resources with ‘rest of the story’ offered for ‘Passion’

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–As the buzz surrounding Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of The Christ” mounts prior to its Feb. 25 launch, the North American Mission Board has begun offering detailed evangelistic resources to help churches answer questions the movie raises.

NAMB is mailing Southern Baptist churches suggestions for preparation, prayer and personal witnessing — as well as tools to help follow up with individuals who respond. The same information also is available through www.PassionChrist.org, a new NAMB website.

“The Passion tells an important part of the story of Jesus Christ — but only a part,” said John Yarbrough, NAMB’s vice president for evangelization. “We are suggesting that Southern Baptists use the impact of this movie in their communities to tell ‘the rest of the story’ about the saving and redemptive power of the Gospel.

“It is our prayer,” he added, “that the attention drawn to Jesus during the showing of this motion picture will find many people searching for answers, and that our churches will be prepared to show them the way to new life in Christ.”

The Passion of The Christ is one of the most detailed depictions of the last hours of Christ’s life in movie history. Gibson has stated that his purpose for the undertaking was to help individuals gain a new appreciation for Christ. It is filmed entirely in the original languages — Aramaic and Latin — but with subtitles to ensure the meaning is clear.

The NAMB site deals openly with the issues many churches will have in hoping to see people reached with the Gospel by the movie while at the same time not wishing to offer unequivocal endorsement to an R-rated (for violence) movie.

“Many events in our society that are positive, spiritually neutral or even negative can be launching points for evangelistic outreach,” the site states. “Many churches ministered to their communities in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, tragedy. Other churches have Super Bowl parties each year, using this event as a bridge across which to share the Good News. Paul wrote, in 1 Corinthians 9:22 (NKJV), ‘I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.'”

The site suggests churches bathe the film in prayer, including presenting the potential to church members at a regular prayer meeting, holding special prayer events and planning prayerwalks at theaters. Members also could be equipped to be ready to share their faith through a variety of outreach tools and apologetics resource available for download.

When the film is released, suggestions include inviting the community to services dealing with “the rest of the story.”

Also among the resources available for download is a short video animation suitable for use as a sermon illustration that introduces the question, “Who is the real Jesus?”

Other ideas include distribution of relevant evangelistic literature on public sidewalks near theaters, door-to-door opinion surveys based on the film and servant evangelism projects. Suggestions also are offered for effective follow-up with those who respond.

“This event could be the catalyst for the mobilization of a multitude of workers to go into a harvest field of people who are waiting, wondering, watching, and hoping for someone to tell them the rest of the story about Jesus Christ,” the site states. “Pray, prepare, and participate in reaching your world during ‘The Passion of The Christ.'”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: QUESTIONS & ANSWERS.
For information on using The Passion in outreach, resources are available on the Web from LifeWay Christian Resources at www.lifeway.com/passion.

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  • James Dotson