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Super Bowl outreach gearing up in Houston

HOUSTON (BP)–In order to equip an anticipated 2,000-3,000 Super Bowl Evangelism Project volunteers, four SBEP training conferences have been slated, with breakout sessions in various areas of outreach.

An anticipated 200,000 football fans will converge on Houston in the days prior to Super Bowl XXXVIII, and SBEP volunteers will be there to greet them with the Gospel message. That message will be presented in “overt” and “covert” ways, said SBEP director David Fannin, pastor of Nassau Bay Baptist Church.

Some volunteers will be working in NFL and Super Bowl-sponsored venues. Although not able to use those forums for an open presentation of the Gospel to visitors, Fannin said SBEP volunteers can “put a good face on” their Christian faith and, maybe, find opportunities to share that faith with coworkers when appropriate.

For those wanting to be involved in the more “overt” witnessing, SBEP coordinators are sponsoring four workshops facilitated by North American Mission Board and Southern Baptist of Texas Convention staffers.

On Jan. 10, from 9 a.m.-noon, training will be provided at two Houston locations, Sagemont Church, 11300 Sam Houston Parkway, and Wood Forest Baptist Church, 1330 Wood Forest Blvd. The final two sessions also will be held at two locations simultaneously from 9 a.m.-noon, Jan. 17: Houston Northwest Baptist Church, 19911 State Hwy. 249, and First Baptist Church, 7401 Katy Freeway.

Training will be provided in such areas as open air and street evangelism; decision counseling and follow-up; instruction in the just-released NAMB “One day/One hour” witnessing workshop; NAMB’s Evangelism Response Center; and how to hold a Super Bowl watch party. Volunteers will be provided with instructions and materials for working in each of these venues.

The “watch parties,” Fannin said, will be witnessing parties for individuals and churches who open their doors to their neighbors. A specially produced video featuring five Houston Texans and franchise owner Bob McNair tells of their faith and challenges those watching to make a decision for Christ. The videos can be shown at the Super Bowl watch parties as well as used as a catalyst for discussions about the Gospel, Fannin said.

The Evangelism Response Center, sponsored by NAMB, is a national resource geared to people seeking answers to their questions regarding faith in Jesus Christ. The Super Bowl Evangelism Project could broaden the base of volunteers for the program, noted Tim Knopps, director of the Timothy Institute of Evangelism and co-coordinator for SBEP. With training, volunteers can become phone counselors who, by calling into the ERC and punching in their personal access code, can receive calls from individuals seeking help via a 1-888-phone number. The goal of the project is to connect callers with counselors in their general vicinity. The counselor can then recommend local churches for the caller to attend. Follow-up literature from NAMB will be sent to each caller. Knopps said ERC coordinators are looking for covenant churches that will then train their members who are called to such a ministry.

The Super Bowl is just an excuse for getting outreach programs started in churches that might not have participated in such events, Knopp said. “The Super Bowl,” he said, “is the catalyst for long-term effects.”

Every church is capable of sharing the Gospel in their neighborhoods and cities. These workshops, Knopps said, help equip churches toward that end and continuing as a witness long after the Super Bowl has left town.

For volunteers heading to Houston after Jan. 17, videotapes of the training sessions will be available from SBEP volunteer coordinator Roy Guel, at [email protected], or by logging on to www.houstonsb.com. More information about becoming a volunteer can be found at the website.

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  • Bonnie Pritchett