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Social networking adds to GPS momentum

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–The prayerwalks and door-to-door visits that define the GPS: Across North America evangelism campaign make it an intensely local effort in one sense. But online social networking makes it feel more than ever like Southern Baptists are all in it together.

Across North America includes a coordinated advertising campaign that began in most areas March 15. Most of the ground activity for Across North America will begin with prayerwalking the weekend of March 20 and the following weekend with door-to-door distribution of “Find it Here” materials inviting people to Easter Sunday services in Southern Baptist churches across the country.

Never before have participants had the opportunity of sharing their experiences so broadly in real time in conjunction with a coordinated campaign that includes more than 25,000 television ads, more than 7,000 radio spots, print ads, billboards, yards signs and banners, as well as 17 million pieces of literature to be distributed to households across the country.

On Facebook, the “FinditHere” page has garnered more than 1,000 “fans.” The site offers sharable links to the www.FinditHere.com website as well as encouragement and support for volunteers.

“We have a great opportunity to work together to receive a fantastic blessing as we share the good news with those who desperately need it,” Larry McCain of Arcata, Calif., wrote on the Facebook page. “God ‘is able to do exceeding more than we ask or imagine, according to His power at work within us.’ Let’s go for it.”

Anecdotes of the early impact of the campaign also started bubbling up. Linda Crawford of Hazard, Ky., tells of a young lady who called the church after receiving a Find it Here packet.

“She said her grandmother had lived here all of her life, and as far as she can remember, she’s never had anyone come by her house and give her this kind of information,” Crawford wrote. “The girl asked if there was any way that we could come get them for church this Sunday. What an exciting way to begin!”

Twitter (Twitter.com) also allows Southern Baptists a chance to link “followers” to the FinditHere.com website — in 140 characters or less.

“Relationships add meaning to our lives. Without them our lives are empty. Want one?? Really??? http://www.findithere.com/,” Twitter user James L. Graham Jr. wrote.

Pastors are also using Twitter to offer encouragement to their own members. “Tagged and bagged what seemed like a million outreach cards that will go out over the next 3 weeks—EXCITED!,” wrote “@PastorJimDrake” of Princeton, W. Va.

To spur discussion even further, the North American Mission Board is inviting participants to share their experiences at www.namb.net/GPSstories. Posts can be conventional written stories, or users can pull out their mobile phone or webcam to create a video report.

“It’s easier than ever for Southern Baptists to join the conversation about our shared mission, and we just thought this would be a good opportunity to see if we could help make that happen,” said Mike Ebert, team leader for communications at NAMB.

A Google map showing locations of published stories also is featured on the www.namb.net/GPSstories website.
James Dotson is a writer for the North American Mission Board. Share your GPS experience at www.namb.net/GPSstories (text or video), the FinditHere fan page on Facebook or on Twitter using the hash tag #FinditHere.

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  • James Dotson