Being an evangelist gives me the opportunity to talk with pastors each and every week. These conversations confirm what market research also reveals – the vast majority of evangelical churches struggle in the area of evangelism. How’s that for irony? On January 29th and 30th I attended the Reach 2018 Georgia Baptist Evangelism Conference at Central Baptist Church in Warner Robins, Georgia. The theme this year was “The Strategy of the Gospel.” The goal was to embolden pastors and lay leaders to rekindle the fire for evangelism in their local church.
I love these types of events because it gives me the chance to slow down and have meaningful conversations with pastors and other like-minded evangelists. As a former pastor, I had the opportunity to encourage men who’ve grown somewhat weary in their present position, but also found myself greatly encouraged by their desire to reach the lost in their communities.
Of course, the preaching was powerful and passionate. There were too many points to recount here but a few things really stood out to me. Every person in ministry should hear the message by Bill Purvis, pastor of Cascade Hills, on understanding the door of ministry. His son, Brent, then shared how prayer and a clear purpose has allowed Cascade Hills to baptize people every day. Johnny Hunt, pastor of Woodstock Baptist Church, challenged preachers to give an invitation to the lost at the end of every service; something that has disappeared in many churches today.
Jason Britt shared how Bethlehem Church went from struggling to have 200 people to become an evangelistically thriving church of over 3,000 in just six years. It struck me when Jason said, “Examine the fruit of ministry, not the intent of ministry.” Finally, Evangelist Junior Hill wrapped up the conference in a compelling sermon on the believer’s responsibility to spread the seed of the Gospel – God’s Word.
So, what did I take away from the event? Evangelism should still be the number one priority of the Church. Every local church and every individual believer is charged to eagerly and urgently share the Gospel with those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. My call to evangelize didn’t happen when God called me into full-time evangelism; it happened when I surrendered my life to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If you are a follower of Christ, then you have the same mandate. Let’s partner together to reach our families, friends, and communities.