Tornado causes significant damage to ministry offices
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Take House to House/Heart to Heart, the evangelistic publication Webster started in 1994 while preaching for the Tiplersville Church of Christ in Mississippi.
Webster maintained the direct-mail ministry after moving to the Jacksonville Church of Christ in 1995 — and the Alabama church recruited more congregations to join the effort.
Allen Webster“Then it grew from there, and we brought in extra workers,” said Webster, the general editor who now works with 14 full-time staff members.
Published six times per year, House to House is an eight-page, full-color magazine used as an outreach tool by 1,100 Churches of Christ nationwide. Each issue goes to about 2.5 million households.
With the first issue of 2016, the publication reached an all-time total of 200,132,287 copies distributed.
“We have worked with churches in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., and 60 foreign countries,” said Matt Wallin, who signs up churches for House to House. “We print each issue in English and Spanish and occasionally in French and British English.”
Matt WallinIn northern New Hampshire, the six-member Northern Valley Church of Christ mails House to House to more than 1,000 neighbors every other month.
Minister Tom Jackson, who supports himself by farming, said the publication plants seeds in the community.
“It’s a way to reach areas that normally could not be reached because of the lack of workers,” Jackson said.
Churches customize the front and back of House to House to highlight service times and promote special events such as ladies’ days, clothing giveaways and gospel meetings.
“It looks like it’s coming directly from the local church, which is great,” Wallin said.
While the Washington Avenue Church of Christ in Evansville, Ind., mails out nearly 4,000 copies, quantifying results can be difficult, secretary Randa Bush said.
However, House to House has resulted in numerous Bible studies and at least two baptisms by the church, Bush said.
“I do see more visitors in our assemblies,” she said, “and I believe that makes a significant impact in those numbers.”
In Chattanooga, Tenn., Deborah Hughes, 61, received House to House and requested a Bible study this past October.
Minister Charles Cochran of the East Ridge Church of Christ ended up baptizing her — just a few months before she died.
“It’s just a very encouraging story of what this kind of work can do,” Cochran said.
David Shannon preaches for the Mt. Juliet Church of Christ in Tennessee, which averages Sunday attendance of more than 1,100. His congregation blankets its area with 15,000-plus copies of House to House.
“It’s a publication that just really does a good job of addressing truth in a loving way,” Shannon said.
The Jacksonville Church of Christ in Alabama sings “Unto Thee, O Lord.” (Video by Bobby Ross Jr.)
Posted by The Christian Chronicle on Sunday, November 8, 2015
People are surprised when they learn the 200-member Jacksonville church (singing in above video) sponsors House to House, Webster said.
The same congregation organizes Polishing the Pulpit, which draws thousands each summer to the mountains of East Tennessee.
“The truth of it is, I don’t know a big church that does what they do,” Shannon said. “It’s unbelievable.”
In an Internet age, Webster still sees a place for old-fashioned postal mail. Having one’s message on paper lends greater credibility to it, gets it noticed and adds a level of permanence, he said.
House to House posts its articles online for those who prefer the Internet, even as it keeps printing millions of copies — and spreading the Good News.
“I guess we’ll see,” Webster said of what’s next. “It’s in God’s hands.”
“We have worked with churches in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., and 60 foreign countries.”Matt Wallin, House to House
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