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Retton proclaims faith in Christ in ad campaign; thousands responding

SALT LAKE CITY (BP)–One of Southern Baptists’ most recognized ambassadors in Salt Lake City is not even in town for the convention’s June 9-11 annual meeting. But her message is no less powerful. In a 15-second television spot being aired throughout the month of June, Olympic gold medal gymnast Mary Lou Retton — a member of Second Baptist Church of Houston — proudly proclaims her faith in Jesus Christ, “the only perfect 10.” Retton, one of the nation’s most popular Olympic champions, was a multiple gold medal winner during the 1984 Olympics.
The ad is one of four television spots — along with related radio spots, print ads and billboards — saturating the Salt Lake City area during the annual meeting and beyond. The ads, sponsored by the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board, follow a special mailing of nearly 400,000 evangelistic publications to every home in the metropolitan area. All of the ads focus on the interdenominational Celebrate Jesus 2000 evangelistic campaign, which has a goal of giving everyone in the United States an opportunity to hear and respond to the Christian gospel by the end of the year 2000. The campaign was already showing strong results after the first week. In the ads and publications, residents are invited to mail in a response card or call a toll-free number requesting a free video of the film “Jesus,” produced by Campus Crusade for Christ. As of Monday morning, June 8, about 1,200 response cards had been received at NAMB offices in Alpharetta, Ga., and 2,000 requests had been received through the toll-free number. Some of the households are receiving a special edition of HOME LIFE Today, a customized publication of the Sunday School Board, while others are receiving a NAMB publication titled, “Choices,” that profiles a number of Christians in Utah. The SSB magazine reached homes in mid-May, while the “Choices” publication began arriving in homes the first week in June. Plans call for the videos — produced by Campus Crusade for Christ and distributed worldwide as an evangelistic tool — to be hand-delivered, opening doors for building relationships with local Southern Baptists. The broadcast ads will run throughout the month of June, while daily newspaper ads in both major newspapers in Salt Lake City will continue through June 10.

    About the Author

  • James Dotson