By MARK MAYNARD, Kentucky today
BEREA, Ky. (KT) – Pastor Allen Livingood makes the gospel in every home a matter of worship and priority on Sunday mornings.
He called on members of the Westside Baptist Church to deliver Kentucky Baptist Convention initiative gospel packages to 1,000 homes in the community of Berea. While he’s sure the neighbors will raise their eyebrows when they answer knocks on their door and find a church member waiting to speak to them on the other side, he said the acts of sacrifice and worship shown should be well received.
“It’s still worship, it’s just another kind of worship,” he said. “Romans 12: 1 says that we are to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice. This is what we are trying to do.
As about 40 to 50 members take to the streets to share the gospel with their neighbors, the church worship service will still be held. He said they will have an abbreviated Sunday school, then a song and prayer service for those in the community on what he has dubbed “Gospel every family day.” They will pray for safety and for potential evangelistic conversations that will likely take place when members take to the streets of the community.
He said it might not be a typical Sunday morning worship service, but it could be a day to remember for the church with groups putting their faith in motion as they walk out of church doors and in the community.
The church is excited about what can happen with Gospel to Every Home, KBC’s nearly two-year initiative to bring the gospel to 1.7 million homes across the state. Each church has been invited to do the work in their own “Jerusalem” and that is exactly what Livingood wants to happen in Berea.
Livingood said the church was built in 1953 to reach out to the community. Even though the majority of members no longer live around the church, it is still the community they must reach with the gospel. About 85% of Berea residents do not attend church on Sunday mornings, according to KBC statistics. The region is therefore ripe for the harvest, he said.
He recalled a community gospel training meeting at each home where Grayson’s First Baptist pastor Josh Schmidt shared as they were visiting his town, he met neighbors who lived near the church who knew nothing about it.
Livingood said the same could probably be said for Westside. “I’m sure we have people living here who couldn’t tell you the name of the church or anything about it.”
Livingood, who has been a pastor since 2003, has said he has wanted to participate in the gospel in every household for several months, but the second increase in the pandemic has prevented them from doing so. They initially decided to wait until spring due to pandemic fears among church members and the community. However, he said it is time to act and that they are doing it in a unique way.
The pastor said he was having lunch with Kevin Slimp of Berea First Baptist who told him they were out on Sunday morning. Livingood was intrigued by the idea and believed it would suit his church as well. Everyone is there on Sunday morning anyway, he reasoned, so why not try to use that as an advantage. He also said more people in the community are home on Sunday mornings than at almost any other time. He asked his deacons about the plan and they enthusiastically approved.
“Talking with Kevin is what inspired me to take the ball and run with it,” Livingood said. “My deacons president, Jason Mays, was instrumental in mapping everything and organizing everyone to come out.”
The church also got together to pack the 1,000 bags with the participation of young and old. They were done in about 30 minutes, he said.
Livingood said he was grateful for the way KBC provides resources for projects like Gospel to Every Home. “They covered it all,” he said. “Everything we need for this, they provided us. We are so lucky that they are working with us.