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Milwaukee churches unite in media outreach

A city described by "Forbes" magazine as "the drunkest city in America" with "a bar on every corner" is now getting a taste of hope. Assemblies of God churches in the Milwaukee metro area have come together to sponsor the "Nothing's Too Hard for God" media campaign in their hometown.

The NTHFG campaign is centered on the testimonies of eight people in difficult circumstances who discovered that God is capable of the seemingly impossible. Commercials, billboards, print ads and small group discussion DVDs are among the many components of the campaign.

Pastor Zack Searcy, associate pastor at Changing Lives Assembly of God, first heard about NTHFG at the 2007 General Council in Indianapolis. As he looked at the materials and commercials, he was impressed by their quality, but what impressed him most was how pertinent the theme was to an urban area, such as Milwaukee.

Searcy discussed the possibility of Changing Lives promoting NTHFG with his senior pastor, David Eichler, but they quickly realized there was potential to do much more.

"I just started to think how great it would be if we combined with other churches, not make it about our church, but make it about what God wants to do citywide; more of a vision for Milwaukee," Searcy explains. He met with another pastor to talk about sponsoring billboards together, but their plans continued to evolve and soon they felt all the Milwaukee AG churches could get involved.

Jon Brooks, college and young adults pastor at Oak Creek Assembly, is one of the pastors who joined on and agreed it was important for the Milwaukee churches to work together in this innovative metro-wide outreach.

"The campaign addresses issues that are at the forefront of society today," Brooks says. "We wanted to show that our church, along with other area Assembly of God churches, deal with relevant issues each week.

Searcy believes the "Nothing's Too Hard for God" theme has applied to the actual media campaign itself, especially in terms of finances. He learned there was a $10,000 fund available specifically for their district section that had been established to sponsor a project, should the churches come together in a joint effort. With the help of section presbyter Reverend Jerry Brooks, the funds were approved to sponsor the campaign.

The $10,000 was enough to finance 240 television commercials on Time Warner Cable over six weeks and 22 billboards across the city for eight weeks. The commercials began airing January 14 and also direct viewers to tune into an OnDemand channel, where Time Warner has agreed to run a 10-minute NTHFG testimony video on addiction.

"God is intentional about getting this message across," Searcy says. "He wants everybody to know that no matter how meager, desperate or drastic your situation is, if you follow him and desire a relationship with him and seek him first, that he's going to work this through. It's not impossible if you are connected to God."

Some of the churches involved in the media campaign, including Changing Lives Assembly, are also incorporating the NTHFG theme into a sermon series. Searcy reports that direct mail pieces have been sent out to invite Milwaukee residents to hear the messages, which are leading up to Easter Sunday.

As the campaign continues in coming weeks, Brooks anticipates a great move of God as a result of the churches working together.

"In Acts 1:8, Jesus says that the smallest unit of transformation is a city," Brooks explains. "We are to believe that we can take entire cities for the Kingdom of God. And although that may be a stretch to believe, I believe it can be accomplished as churches join together as a unified force. Expect to hear good news from Milwaukee!"

To learn more about the Nothing's Too Hard for God media campaign, see http://nothingstoohardforgodcampaign.ag.org/.