From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Pastor uses watches to make disciples

From NewsDesk <NewsDesk@UMCOM.ORG>
Date Thu, 13 Jun 2002 14:24:07 -0500

June 13, 2002 News media contact: Linda Green7(615)742-54707Nashville, Tenn.

NOTE: A photograph is available with this story.

By Julie A. Wiley*

SAN ANTONIO (UMNS) - Time is of the essence in winning souls for Christ.
That's why an area pastor offers free wristwatches - along with a gospel
message - to people who don't know Jesus as savior.

"People become so thankful to receive a watch for free," says the Rev.
Antone Dykes, pastor of Sanford Chapel and Jones Chapel United Methodist
churches in San Antonio. "I tell them that God's gift is free, too. The
watches are a great witness tool."

Dykes, 77, has been giving away watches on street corners, in malls, in
grocery stores and in schools for 18 years. He carries timepieces in his
briefcase, pockets and car trunk.

"To be a soul winner, you need to be able to communicate with others," Dykes
says. "If you can get the attention of a person, they'll stay to listen.

"When I present the person with a watch, it gets their attention right away.
That is my opportunity to tell them about the Lord." 

Dykes sees many of the people who receive watches at church on Sundays.

"I give them the watch and invite them to come visit the church, and they
do," he says. "There are quite a few success stories to tell.

"Some visitors weren't living Christlike lives, but they are now. Many are
in school earning degrees and walking with the Lord."

Dykes gets watches from local pawnshops, garage sales, estate sales and flea
markets. He says he's collected more than 4,000 watches since 1984.

"My reason for collecting so many watches is to share Christ with those who
may not have a personal relationship with him," Dykes says. "I look at the
person's wrist, and if they're not wearing a watch, I'll give them one."

The retired clergy member of the Southwest Texas Annual (regional)
Conference says he has more than 1,000 watches that he intends to give away.

Witnessing isn't about gaining church members, but about leading people into
a right relationship with Christ, Dykes says.

"Many of the folks who have their names on church rolls are going to be
going to hell," he says. "Getting more members for the church isn't what
Jesus asked us to do. He commanded us to go out and make disciples, not

"We need to be concerned about the souls of others and not so much about
making them into members of our churches."

Dykes' daughter, Antoinette, says the watch ministry is a success.

"My dad has been giving away watches for a long time," she says. "It's great
to see people turn their lives around after giving their lives to Christ
through this watch ministry."

Dykes' wife, Lucy, agrees.

"Antone loves the Lord, and that's the reason he does this," she says. "The
watches are used to help tell people about Jesus. He's a godly man, who
loves spreading God's word wherever he goes."

Dykes says that as long as God gives him time on earth, he'll be busy
telling others about Jesus.

"The watches are not only helping people keep track of time; they're helping
people start a relationship with Christ," Dykes says. "I love telling others
about God's love, and I plan to do it for as long as God allows me to."

# # #

*Wiley is a staff writer in the Communications and Public Witness Office of
the Southwest Texas Annual Conference. This article was adapted from the
United Methodist Witness, the conference newspaper.

United Methodist News Service
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