The power of yellow tape?
Ask Pastor John Lowrie of First Baptist Church in Terrell, Texas, what a few rolls of yellow tape can do for a congregation wondering if God can reach their neighborhoods.
But when First Baptist posted an 8-foot-tall map of the city, and then started marking in yellow tape the streets that had been covered with a prayer walk, the idea took off.
The congregation quickly realized there was nothing magical in sticking skinny yellow lines on a bigger-than-life map.
Rather the power is in prayer. And high on the prayer list was inviting neighbors to the Trinity Valley Will Graham Celebration March 23-25.
“The concept of praying for our street, praying for our neighbors,” Pastor Lowrie said. “They’ve bought into it.”
So much so that you almost have to squint to find a street in Terrell that hasn’t been prayed over.
“I think we’re probably at about 97 percent,” Pastor Lowrie said earlier this week. “In the last five months, we’ve been challenging our congregation to just surround the city in prayer.
“There’s just a few side streets we’re missing, but we’re going to target them this week.”
First Baptist hasn’t missed a beat when it comes to engaging in this weekend’s evangelistic outreach.
Starting on Feb. 6, the church hosted a three-week FM419 youth training that drew 185 students. And approximately 230 people from the congregation, which averages about 400 per Sunday, have gone through at least part of the Christian Life and Witness adult training, with many signing up to be counselors.
“I’ve been blessed as a pastor and really encouraged by how our church has taken hold of it and really run with it,” Pastor Lowrie said.
Another way First Baptist has stood behind the Celebration is through a cake fundraising event, which worked on two levels.
Members in the congregation signed up to bake cakes. The cakes were then sold for $100 apiece, but carried specific instructions: The cake was to be given to a neighbor along with an invitation to the Celebration. Some quartered their cake and gave it to four different neighbors they had been lifting up in prayer.
For many, opening the door for someone else to experience the Gospel has never been so sweet.
“I see it in their faces. I see the light bulb go on,” Pastor Lowrie said. “That to me —getting us on that same page, that same focus — has been important.
“We’re excited about what God’s going to do, but I’m excited about what God’s already done.”
To top things off, Pastor Lowrie was going to personally bake a cake that would be auctioned off, but then a woman in the congregation stepped in and made a red velvet cake to go up for auction.
“They didn’t want anyone to have to eat my cooking,” Pastor Lowrie joked. “It would’ve only brought in about $5.”
But with a winning bid of $1,000, the man who bought the red velvet dessert texted Pastor Lowrie after he delivered the cake to a neighbor he had been praying for and then randomly bumped into recently at a local restaurant.
“Both the man and his family agreed to come to the Celebration,” Pastor Lowrie said. “His heart was so stirred. He just texted me and said it’s exciting to see how God used that cake.”
For a full Trinity Valley Will Graham Celebration schedule, including when Rend Collective Experiment, Tedashii and Fireflight will be playing, click here.
To join the Will Graham Trinity Valley Celebration Facebook page, click here.