Western Baptist Association tells fairgoers that they are the most valuable thing at the fair


NEWNAN, Ga. – The Christian life is not to be characterized by the words “sit, relax, bask, repose, lounge or luxuriate.” The Christian life may be more accurately defined by the word “go.” The Great Commission in Matthew 28: 19-20 begins with the word “go.” We are to be on the go with the Gospel. God may call you to “go” to the ends of the earth as a herald of His matchless grace and unfathomable love; but He may want you to “go” next door to share the good news of salvation with your neighbor that you have never engaged in a Gospel conversation.

The Apostle Paul took four extensive missionary journeys and he always seemed to be “going” somewhere to share the message of salvation. In his missionary travels he always seemed to target the large cities in the regions he visited. He went to places where he thought he could have the greatest impact and influence the most people.

Each year the Kiwanis Coweta County Fair attracts thousands of people to Newnan, Ga. Thousands of families go to the fair to enjoy the grand midway with its carnival rides, inflatables, food and game concessions, exhibit halls showing local artwork, handicrafts, baked goods, horticulture, livestock shows and a myriad of other attractions. The county fair in Newnan also had a Diaper Derby, a Beauty Pageant, Lumberjack and Lumberjill competition, gingerbread competition, and a variety of entertaining shows.

Since the Coweta County Fair attracts so many people (45,000 in 2022), for almost 15 years the Western Baptist Association has organized ten different churches to host their tent for one day during the fair. Each church is equipped to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and provide a cheerful and uplifting presences amid a loud and boisterous carnival atmosphere.

Wayne Jenkins, Western Baptist Associational missionary, stated, “So often people see the church as an institution that intrudes into their lives with a message of gloom and doom and persistent appeals for money. At our tent we are trying to make a positive, nonthreatening impression by demonstrating the love of Jesus.”

“When people visit our tent, we have a very large glass jar crammed full of teddy bears. When the children see the bears, they bring their parents to our tent; and we ask the kids to guess how many bears are in the glass jar. No matter how many bears they guess, we tell them we appreciate their participation, share with them a brief synopsis of the depth of God’s love, and give them a free teddy bear.

“The small bear we give them can easily fit into their dad’s pocket, which almost ensures that the gift will be taken home as a reminder of the message we share with each visitor to our tent. This year we gave away 1,000 teddy bears.”

However, the main feature at the Western Baptist Association tent is a beautiful, golden box with an inscription on the front: “The most valuable thing at the fair is in this box.” Jenkins explained, “Almost everyone wants to know what the most valuable thing at the fair could possibly be. They all expressed a desire to look into the box.”

When the box is opened, there is a beautiful, golden, silk cloth that can be seen first. It seems to fill the box with a shimmering sunlit kind of glow, but when one draws nearer, and bends lower there is a mirror at the bottom center of the box and the curious observer sees an image of himself/herself.

Steve Bullard, Pastor of Royal Baptist Church in Newnan, explained, “Since the mirror reflects the image of the person who peers into the box, we proceed to ask that person, do you know why you are the most valuable thing here at the fair and the most valuable person in this whole world? In economics, value is measured by the price one is willing to pay for goods or services. God considers the price of one soul to be of inestimable worth and gave up His only begotten Son to die an excruciating death for you and each one of us to have eternal life.”

At that point the Gospel was presented under the Western Baptist Association tent and on more than one occasion the individual who looked in the box heard the message and trusted in the One who is “the way, the truth, and the life.”