LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS
For Fellowship Church of God in Little Rock "community outreach" means more than just helping people right now; it also means helping them for the future. About four months ago the church was looking for new ways to reach out to the surrounding community when a phrase on a t-shirt gave them the idea.
"I saw a woman wearing a shirt one day that said 'If the rapture happens, you can have my shirt.'" Said Chris Koister, the church's pastor. "That just gave me a wonderful idea. We need to be teaching people what they need to do in case they get left behind."
So several members of the church got together with Koister and formulated a plan to inform the non-Christian community what to do in case the Rapture occurs. The plan includes a series of public service radio announcements that address different subjects such as How to Avoid Out of Control Cars, What to Do with All of Those Extra Clothes and How to Fly an Airplane, the script of which states,
"In the event you find yourself aboard a large passenger jet in which the pilot and co-pilot have been raptured, do not panic! The first thing you will want to do is see if there are any other pilots on board the aircraft. While a professional pilot familiar with commercial aircrafts is preferred, any pilot with limited experience is acceptable. If no pilot is available be sure to make contact with the nearest air traffic control tower and they will assist you in landing the plane safely. It, IS, however, extremely important that you get through this situation alive as your being left behind is indicative of the peril of your soul."
While the church has been extremely pleased with the quality of the announcements, people in the Little Rock community have not taken favorably to them.
"These radio announcements are absolutely absurd." Said Carol Hampton, one angry listener. "I was driving the other day and I heard this message about what to do if a car starts driving towards me out of control because of the rapture. I thought it was a joke at first then I heard the tag line that this was a public service announcement from some church."
"We've received a number of calls complaining about the adds." Said Koister. "We may have gone a little too far with a couple of them perhaps. In the plane one we have a bunch of people at the beginning screaming in terror as the plane swerves out of control. We might have to tone them down a bit."
But despite the criticism, Koister says his church still plans to expand their ministry to those who will be left behind.
"We really want to put in a driving track out back and teach people how to avoid all of those out-of-control cars that will be zipping around out there." Said Koister. "We're just here to help the community."