CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (Christian Examiner) – A Tennessee pastor is determined to start a movement across the state that emphasizes and spreads the Christian message behind religious holidays like Christmas and Easter.
Jimmy Terry, 77, pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church created about 100 yard signs with the message "Christmas is all about Jesus" in 2012. The following year he doubled the number and last year with a little help, he was able to produce and distribute 10,000 signs.
Now Terry has set a goal to put out 35,000 signs throughout Tennessee that publicize the Christian message of Resurrection Sunday, "Easter is all about Jesus."
"Our goal this year is to take this across the entire state, to put our signs in all of Tennessee's 95 counties" Terry told the Leaf-Chronicle. "These are not for sale. I want anyone who wants one to be able to get one."
Until now, Terry and his church have covered much of the costs of making and delivering the signs.
Recently some area churches began helping Tabernacle Baptist with a portion of the costs as well as distribution. At Christmas he successfully raised the funds to cover production costs as churches from as far as Georgia sent donations.
Now he is believing God for the funds to cover the cost of 35,000 signs and the people to post them, WKRN reported.
Terry told the news station the sign company was surprised when they asked him how many he planned to order.
"I started with 100 signs, then 200. Last year at Christmas we went to 300. My producer asked me, 'How many do you want this time?' I asked him how many $100,000 can purchase. He stared at me of course. He said, '35,000.' And I said, 'That's what I want.'"
The Leaf-Chronicle reported the church also partnered with the 200-member organization Bikers Who Care to raise awareness about the initiative.
Terry said his vision for the signs aims to reclaim the holidays of the Christian faith for Christ.
"We have desecrated Christmas and Easter," said Terry. "For too many, Christ has evolved into a man in a red suit and 'me' getting presents. Many of this generation and the last don't even know the story of the birth of Jesus or about his resurrection."
The pastor also hopes to extend the traditionally day-long Easter celebration into a month-long observance.
"We have to get the story off the paper and into the hearts of the people." Terry said. "I would love to see Easter as a month-long celebration. You can have Black History Month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but the savior of the world only gets one day. There is something wrong with that picture."