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Erlanger Baptist Church members going on vacation this summer get a special vacation bag to take along

By Mark Maynard
Kentucky Today

Members of Erlanger Baptist Church going on vacation this summer pack more than sunscreen, beach umbrellas and Mickey Mouse ears.

They are also taking along an EBC vacation bag, goodies put together by the church to remind and encourage them that Christianity doesn’t take a vacation.

“We talked about being ambassadors all the time,” said pastor B.J. Donahue. “Over the summer we’re going into the community and we recognize all our families go somewhere else for the summer on vacation.”

They have put up a map in the church’s Christian Life Center and put push pins to indicate where members are going on vacation.

“We supply them with an EBC vacation bag,” Donahue said.

It includes a Three Circles script to practice, a devotional that goes with the idea that when you are on vacation that you are being a gospel light wherever you go, Donahue said. There is also candy to pass out and a Three Circles diagram.

Members can also provide the church with an email or cellphone number to receive daily texts with devotional thoughts.

“We want them to understand there are gospel opportunities in front of them,” he said. “Anything and everything we can do to help people remember they go with the gospel wherever the Lord takes them, even on vacation.”

Donahue said he went to the internet and Googled articles for living out the gospel presence on vacation but it came up empty. So he wrote some tips on his own and provides the list in the vacation bag. Donahue and another church member, Jen Means, wrote the devotionals and created the list

One member gave him unsolicited feedback on the vacation bag and the daily texts and devotions, saying how timely they were every day, Donahue said.

“If you are standing in line at DisneyWorld waiting for it’s a Small World (ride), why not strike up a gospel conversation?” he said. “We’re trying to get out to people to think that they are missionaries at all times, to have a gospel aroma at all times. Everywhere they go is an opportunity.”

That goes for when they come home, too, he said.

Erlanger Baptist Church Pastor B.J. Donohue

The church has a goal of knocking on 7,700 doors to reach the more than 16,000 who are unchurched in Erlanger alone. On Wednesday he had 40 individuals making up 13 different teams who went out to intentionally share the gospel.

Most of them have taken Three Circles evangelistic training and church members are coming back with impactful stories about the conversations they had with others in the community, Donahue said.

“There is an excitement that I’m seeing which is really, really cool,” he said. “We’re going to hit this really hard in June, July, and August.”

He said the church’s youth group has been an enthusiastic part of the community outreach. “They were running around all excited,” he said.

Donahue said as he’s gone through training he’s becoming more evangelistic, too. “Before I was like, you bring them in and I’m going to teach them the Word. Now I’m becoming so much more evangelistic. We have a great opportunity here.”

The second-year Erlanger Baptist Church pastor said he received valuable lessons from Kentucky Baptist Convention resources including Todd Gray, an evangelism leader, and Rob Patterson, the north central region consultant.

Gray’s experience and expertise with door-to-door evangelism have been invaluable, he said. He spoke with Patterson about offering intentional guidance for believers while on vacation.

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