By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
HAUGHTON – Pastor Gevan Spinney will soon take the Gospel from inside the worship center of First Baptist Church in Haughton to viewers of a national hunting TV show.
“The Way It Was” will debut June 29 on the Pursuit Channel, and Spinney and others hope they can offer more than just picturesque outdoor scenery and the best tips on how to snag the biggest elk, turkey or deer. Ultimately, they pray the show will introduce viewers to the message of Christ over the course of the 13-episode season.
“This is my wheelhouse,” Spinney said. “I’m a simple redneck guy who loves Jesus and the outdoors. Putting the both of them together will give us an opportunity to reach people who don’t normally go to church.
“When you’re outside it’s that time to get your mind and life in neutral,” he continued. “It’s the creation connecting with the creator. The busyness of our lives keeps us from being still. But being in a tree there is a lot of stillness. It’s where you see the awe of God, feel His presence and see how big He is.”
The show will feature Spinney and fellow hunters Lynn Beaty, a member of First Baptist Haughton, and Sid McCullin, a member of Cypress Baptist Church in Benton.
The show will include youth hunting in Louisiana, ladies using archery to snag giant whitetail deer in Kansas and a quest for a turkey grand slam – one of the biggest feats in the sport – across five states.
But though each location and episode theme will be different, every show will end the same way – with Spinney sharing the Gospel.
Viewers will be invited to call a 1-888-JESUS20, a toll free number hosted by the North American Mission Board, or log onto endthehunt.org, a website that features live counseling via a person in a private message format hosted by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Spinney cites the success the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has seen using this method, a strategy he hopes will reap a similar harvest with the hunting show.
The title sponsor for the show is Bucks and Bulls Outfitters out of Ogden, Utah. Co-owner Steve Nichols, who lives in Shreveport, said the show allows him to advertise his company and support this ministry.
“With Gevan sharing the Gospel at the end of every show, it’s a good way to honor God and reach out to people who may not receive that message any other way,” he said. “Anytime you are investing in good men, you are going to win. “
McCullin, a veteran hunter for 49 years, said he was elated when the opportunity arose to be a part of a ministry-based hunting show.
“Being involved with this show is so exciting because it gives us that opportunity to share our faith along with our hunting adventures in God’s great outdoors,” he said. “Man can create a lot of wonderful things, but we can’t come close to matching what he has done with this natural world and the wildlife that he provides for us. It’s something we need to give thanks for every single sunrise.”
“The Way It Was” will be shown every Friday at 10:30 p.m., and re-aired the following day at 3 p.m., from June 29-Sept. 22.