East Texas church finds mission field in its own backyard

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HARLETON—Members of Lone Oak Baptist Church believe they have been called to share the hope of Christ with an unreached people group. And many are within walking distance.

The congregation hopes to minister to every person within three miles of the church who is not connected to a Christian congregation. Some in the community have had bad experiences with Christians, Pastor Don Nichols explained. Others have not seen a need for church or never have hard a clear presentation of the gospel.

Lone Oak Pastor Don Nichols explains the church's 2010 vision in a video. Watch it here.

The church hopes to change that through simple acts of praying, caring and sharing through a campaign dubbed Lone Oak 2010. The local effort is modeled after Texas Hope 2010, a statewide initiative to share the hope of Christ with every Texan by Easter 2010.

Through Lone Oak 2010, the congregation plans to visit each of the 465 homes within three miles of its sanctuary and determine whether each family is connected with a church. Church members hope to build relationships with every family in the area not part of a congregation.

“We didn’t have to go to Africa,” said church member Debbie Younger. “We don’t have to go to South America. We don’t have to do anything outside the States. Everybody is right here in our backyard.”

Lone Oak 2010 has excited the congregation, Nichols said. Members are committed to sharing the gospel with people around them. Recently, the church held a commissioning service for its “three-mile missionaries” before sending them into the community.

Most of the church’s 59 active members are involved in the effort. Those who are not part of the visitation teams have pledged to support them by praying for them and writing cards to families. Other church members are spending 40 days reading through the New Testament.

“There’s a lot of lost people that need the Lord,” church member Susan Morris said. “We want to visit every home in our area.”

Nichols hopes the church’s work results in people coming to Lone Oak Baptist Church, but more than that, he wants to see people become Christians and become involved in a church.

“What we would like is every single person who doesn’t know Jesus Christ to come to know Jesus Christ,” Nichols said. “It’s our job—it’s our duty—to lead them to the Lord.”

Members of Lone Oak Baptist Church in Harleton plan to visit each of the 465 homes within three miles of its sanctuary.



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