Tired, hot, drenched-in-sweat youths from Churches of Christ across the Southeast pressed on through Tuesday afternoon’s heat to meet their goal of inviting 10,000 people to church.
More than 100 youths from churches in Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina and Georgia knocked on the doors of homes in Richmond and Columbia counties for up to six hours a day starting Saturday in a campaign they call Magnify Augusta.
At each, the kids, ranging in age from 11 to 18, invited people to a vacation Bible school, gospel meeting or Sunday church service.
“It’s the first time we’ve done anything like this,” said Jeremy Hinote, the youth minister at Central Church of Christ. “We do a lot of missions away. As a church, we go to Panama and other places. This is a way to minister to our own backyard.”
Hinote is one of a handful of adults who accompany the youths as they canvass the neighborhoods this week, offering brochures, in-home Bible studies and registration forms for a nondenominational Bible correspondence course.
“We’ve found that people are more receptive to the kids than the adults,” he said. “Someone is a lot more apt to open the door to them.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, the group had handed out nearly 10,000 of the 13,000 invitations they had printed.
“You really don’t realize how many doors you cover and how many people you’ve reached until they do a summary and add it all up at the end,” said Margan White, 18. He’s a member of Roebuck Parkway Church of Christ in Birmingham, Ala., which inspired Central’s Magnify campaign. The Alabama church has held a similar event of its own for 43 years and regularly sends youths to other cities across the country to assist with the ministry.
“My parents went on them. If you’re in the youth group, it’s one of those things you grow up watching the older kids doing,” he said.
On Tuesday afternoon, Kory Desjadon took a break from door knocking to participate in another aspect of the campaign: local service projects. Throughout the week, youths have volunteered at places such as the Golden Harvest Food Bank, Morningside Assisted Living of Evans and Brandon Wilde Retirement Community.
“I think it’s a good way to spread the Gospel. We want people to know there are people who care about them,” said Kory, 14, of Augusta. “We want people to know they are welcomed. I hope the church gets too big for this building. It would be a good problem to have.”