St. Clair Association leader uses door hangers to stay in touch, connect with churches

St. Clair Association leader uses door hangers to stay in touch, connect with churches

When Danny Courson began serving St. Clair Baptist Association as its associational mission strategist in 2019, he knew he needed to find a way to connect with his churches. Courson found that connection through prayer and door hangers.

“I was just kind of overwhelmed at the number of churches and the way they are spread out over the county,” Courson said. “I was trying to figure out how I was going to maintain contact with so many pastors, especially the 75% of our pastors who are bivocational.”

Courson soon realized he would be traveling a great deal to meet the needs of all those churches and so he began leaving personal notes and praying for the churches he passed on his way.

Door hangers with the association’s logo and a reference to Matthew 28:16–20 were designed with a blank space where Courson could write a personal message for each pastor and the congregation.

So prior to the coronavirus-related church closures, when Courson was scheduled to preach in a church on Sunday, he would spend time on Saturday praying and writing notes for churches.

Then he would visit surrounding churches early on Sunday morning to leave his note. Pastors would find his messages when they walked through their church’s door.

The strategy was effective, he said. Some bivocational pastors are difficult to reach, and the door hangers were a low-tech way for Courson to encourage them.

“Sometimes we get so caught up in technology, we forget that old fashioned methods work well. Cards and letters are still very much appreciated, and in our current situation, they could be used a lot more,” he said.

Courson continues to pray specifically for the needs of each community. Some, he said, have seen businesses close, so he prays for the economy.

Reaching the community

“I pray for the lost in the community and that God will open doors,” said Courson.

“I pray for [churches] to reach their community and that churches will be able to make connections outside their existing fellowship and draw more people into their congregation.”

Courson said he’s seen churches become more connected through his efforts.

“I’ve got more pastors who are now calling me and asking for advice,” Courson said. “It’s definitely helped to draw people in, and they see they are not just out there by themselves. They want to know more about the association and how they can be a part of it.”

‘Prayer for St. Clair’

In addition to the door hangers, Courson has implemented a social media campaign called “Prayer for St. Clair.” He encourages churches to pray for the lost, for existing churches and ministries, for more workers and for associational leadership.

Through the campaign, Courson said he’s seen his churches begin to pray for their sister churches. St. Clair pastors are reaching out to encourage one another and several of them are now planning revivals and missions projects together.

“I wanted [churches] to recognize that we are Kingdom partners and we need to support and encourage one another,” Courson said. “And that’s happening.”

Nicholas Gandy, pastor of Friendship Baptist Church, Springville, began leading his congregation to pray for their sister churches in 2019. He would provide contact information for sister churches in a weekly prayer bulletin and encourage church members to send personal notes of encouragement.

“This has brought a good spirit and helps us to step back and realize we are part of a much bigger picture,” Gandy said. “This is not about me or about Friendship. This is about Jesus and His kingdom. We want to be supportive of other churches in our association and even outside our Baptist world. We want to have good partnerships with other churches.”

As a result of his efforts, Gandy said community churches have asked him to pray for them also, creating a network of prayer and partnership across denominational lines.

“It helps our people to not be so focused on themselves and to not judge all success and failure based on what we’re doing, but to realize we are part of a much bigger story,” said Gandy.

As churches and associations continue to navigate the path to serving their communities through the COVID-19 virus, Courson said he expects to see methods like his being used more than ever.

Throughout the crisis, he’s been able to drive around and drop off notes for pastors.

“That’s something where there’s no contact and a way I can continue to encourage them,” Courson said.