If all goes right, every household in Lincoln County will receive a Christmas gift this December. Bob Wise, pastor of Creek Side Community Church in Gaston County, hopes it will be a gift that changes lives. The gift Wise hopes to present is the DVD of the movie, â€œJesus.â€
â€œAs an evangelistic tool, itâ€™s the greatest tool we have today, because we are a sound and sight generation and this video can go into the home where evangelists canâ€™t,â€ said Wise.
â€œWe understand that this is part of the mission of the church, to go out and help the lost,â€ said Jerry Sain, who has worked with the project through Calvary Baptist Church.
The movie chronicles the life of Jesus, from the prophets to his birth and resurrection, Its script is based entirely on the book of Luke and is almost word-for-word from the Bible in some parts.
â€œThis thing is so biblically accurate that they dyed the clothes the same way they did in Jewish times,â€ said Wise.
Advocates claim it is the most-viewed film ever, with estimates as high as over five billion times and in over 800 languages.
If the project is successful, Lincoln County will become one of about 32 counties in North Carolina to have a video of Jesus sent to every household.
Videos have already been sent to every household in South Carolina, Hawaii, and Alabama, as well as parts of other states; but North Carolina, with a population of 5.9 million, is the biggest mission yet for the Jesus Video Project America (JVPA), which was formed in 1992 by the late Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ.
To pay for the videos and the mailing, Wise needs $90,000. He has contacted every church in Lincoln County; so far, but of the over 150 churches in Lincoln County, only 17 have given financial aid towards the project.
At this juncture, the project has raised $28,455 so far.
â€œIf each church gave $500 we would almost have what we needed,â€ Wise said.
Besides the 17 churches that have helped, six businesses and several individuals have also contributed. While Wise is thankful for the donations thus far, he is disappointed that so much of the countyâ€™s Christian community has failed to take action in the crusade.
He cited the JVPAâ€™s motto: â€œIf not this, then what? If not now, then when? If not you, then who?
He also asked people in the county to contact him if their church is not one of those currently involved.
â€œItâ€™s a matter of whether Godâ€™s people, who already know Christ, are willing to release the funds to help those who donâ€™t know Christ,â€ said Rev. Ken Jones of Macedonia Baptist Church
All Wise is looking for is one or two people from each church to to get involved from each church; that and some financial donations.
â€œWeâ€™re not looking for pastors,â€ said Wise, â€œweâ€™re looking for lay people.â€
Bimonthly meetings are held to keep tabs on the projectâ€™s status. The next one takes place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 12 at Calvary Baptist Church.
There will also be two fundraisers, one at Rock Springs Campground on August 20 and another at the Citizens Center on Sept. 10.
The project needs to raise the $90,000 by October if they are to meet the December delivery time. If the amount is met, the video will be sent to all 30,590 households in the county over a three-day period. All of the videos will be sent through the post office.
â€œWe make a missionary out of the postman,â€ Wise joked.
He isnâ€™t worried about offending anyone with the video. The video is completely free; all anyone who doesnâ€™t want it has to do is return it to Wise through the post office. He has boxes of such returned videos from the recent Gaston County mailing.
â€œIâ€™m never worried about the Gospel. Godâ€™s word says that it will never come back void,â€ said Jones. â€œMore people should be offended by the Gospel, so that they will be encouraged to find a relationship with God.â€
Rabbi Rai Sunshine of Temple Israel in Charlotte said he wouldnâ€™t be angry or excited about receiving the video.
â€œPeople can do what theyâ€™re going to do as long as theyâ€™re not forcing it on me,â€ he said.
He compared it to someone coming to his door and wanting to talk about their religion: â€œIf someone wants to talk to me about me about their faith, Iâ€™ll be polite and thank them for their interest and their faith and tell them that Iâ€™m satisfied with my faith.â€
After the mailing, there may be a follow-up process to see who has watched the video and how it affected him or her. Wise hasnâ€™t decided how exactly the process will unfold; members might go door-to-door or make phone calls to every house in the county.
Also in consideration is a program where the DVD can be exchanged for a VHS of the movie.
If the $90,000 isnâ€™t made by October, â€œweâ€™re going to raise the money till we get it,â€ he said.
Wise is hopeful the money will be raised and that this Christmas the video will be sent out. He is a gracious for the churches, businesses, and individuals that have already donated.
Among the denominations of the churches helping are Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, New Life Christian Fellowship, Wesleyan, and Lutheran.
â€œThe thing about this is, itâ€™s not about your church or my church, itâ€™s about our church,â€ he stated.. â€œWe are today the largest population of unchurched people in American history and this takes the gospel into the living room.â€
. For more information, contact Bob Wise at (704) 736-0075 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the fundraiser at Rock Springs Campgrounds on August 20, contact Tony Kiser at (704) 489-1639.
Contributions should be made payable to Jesus Video Project NC of Lincoln County, P.O. Box 31, Lincolnton NC 28093
by Caleb Hawkins