By John Kyle Louisiana Baptist communications director
ALEXANDRIA, La. – Without the Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering, the multi-media outreach, “Here for You,” would not exist.
That’s according to John Kyle, director of communications for Louisiana Baptists.
“In a sense, Georgia Barnette and ‘Here for You’ are a marriage made in ‘missions heaven,’” Kyle noted. “Missions mean go – go to places and people who need to hear the Gospel. That’s exactly what “Here for You” is doing. Only we’re doing this inside the borders of Louisiana.”
Launched in the summer of 2014 as part of the President’s 2020 Commission, “Here for You” is attempting to impact the estimated 2 million people in Louisiana who do not have relationships with Christ.
“We talk a lot about those two million people and occasionally we’ll pray for them. ‘Here for You’ is an intentional effort to consistently go where they live and work, and creatively seed God’s truth in their hearts.”
Georgia Barnette gifts supported pilot campaigns in three of Louisiana’s seven markets from 2014 – 2018. “Here for You” launched statewide in February 2019.
Kyle says much was gleaned from the pilot campaigns.
“‘Here for You’ started out as the tagline for the commercials and the website was LouisianaBaptists.info. People were getting confused so we rebranded everything to ‘Here for You,’” said Kyle. “We also learned that while people were visiting the website, they were not staying and viewing the Gospel presentation. This led us to revamp the website with the goal of making the visitor experience more engaging and directing them to various areas on the site including finding a church, learning more about Louisiana Baptists, viewing the commercials and of course, the online Gospel presentation.”
Perhaps the most significant addition to the strategy is the partnership with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
“A friend of mine works with Franklin Graham and told me about their internet evangelism effort which has seen more than 15.5 million website visitors indicate decisions for Christ around the world,” Kyle explained. “The BGEA is seeing in excess of six thousand visitors from Louisiana to their website each month. They designed a special landing page for ‘Here for You’ and that portal has seen over 4,300 views of the Gospel presentation and just under 900 have indicated they made decisions for Christ this year.”
IF NUMBERS COULD TALK
“If numbers could talk, ‘Here for You’ is definitely getting a hearing,” Kyle noted. “In the second quarter of 2020, during the beginning of the quarantine, Louisiana Baptists seeded God’s word into 95 percent of television households across the state during the weeks the commercials aired. An average of 250,000 people each month are being reached via social media and streaming services. When you include the reach of our Billy Graham partnership, the numbers indicate people are hearing God’s word as it’s seeded in their hearts and homes.”
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
Each month, the BGEA includes comments from those indicating decisions for Christ through the ‘Here for You’ landing page. Kyle noted these provide a glimpse of how God is using this effort in the hearts of people across the state.
“When I read these comments, which often include the addictions and struggles being experienced, Jesus’ words ‘he felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd,’ come to mind,” Kyle reflected. “You can’t help but pray for them and thank God for the opportunity to engage them with the Gospel.”
Comments received over the last several months include:
“My life feels upside down, I’m not having any good luck…. Please help me to find way back to my heavenly Father.”
“How do I know God has forgiven me?”
“I believe there is a God but I need help really feeling He is there and to stop having thoughts that He’s not real. Please help me.”
“I’m wondering what happens to you after you pray the ‘Sinners Prayer’?”
Almost two years into the statewide campaign, Kyle believes “Here for You” comes with a promise. “When Jesus was explaining the parable of the sower to His disciples, He told them the seed represents the word of God and that ‘some’ of the seeds find good soil,” Kyle continued. “
The Georgia Barnette Offering makes that ‘some’ a reality. It provides the seed.
“So the promise is twofold: First, some of seeds find good soil. In other words, the scattering of the seed is not in vain. Second, seeds that find good soil provide a return 30, 60 or even 100 times more than what was scattered. That’s a promising worth pursuing.”
Pastors and churches desiring to connect with Here for You are encouraged to visit LouisianaBaptists.org/ hereforyou and enter the password, luke1423.
To support Here for You via e Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering visit georgiabarnette.org/ give.