Barker to head spiritual awakening
By Allen Palmeri
April 19, 2005
JEFFERSON CITY – Ron Barker will take on a rather unique title as he joins the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) staff May 1. He will become the MBC’s personal evangelism / spiritual awakening specialist.
He freely admits that in his own power, he can do nothing to bring about a spiritual awakening in Missouri. But the 57-year-old pastor from Gainesville, Ga., does bring a variety of ministry experience to Missouri, according to MBC Executive Director David Clippard, that God can use to help improve the heart condition of Missouri Baptists.
“Bob Caldwell will remain our state director of evangelism,” Clippard said. “He has been stellar in helping churches with community outreach and revival preparations. Ron will complement that with more of a pastoral, personal evangelism day by day.
“If spiritual awakening would really come, evangelism comes as naturally as breath. He’s going to guide us to reach those goals.”
Barker developed a heart for evangelism early on in his 32-year ministry career. That led to Charles Stanley, pastor, First Baptist Church, Atlanta, bringing him on board as minister of evangelism. From there he went to the Home Mission Board where he promoted, taught and developed Continuous Witness Training (CWT). He later planted a church and became an adjunct professor of ethics at North Georgia College and State University, where he was blessed to lead many of his students to Christ.
His innovative MBC title is simply a reflection of who he is.
“It describes me very well,” Barker said. “Those are the things that I’ve been passionate about all my life.”
Barker said the problem in Southern Baptist life can be boiled down to the deeds people do that do not validate the words they say. In other words, revival in our camp will not occur until the values of our people change. This applies in general to America as well, Barker said.
“When you have national revival, the culture changes,” he said.
He taught MBC staffers about revival and spiritual awakening at a staff retreat Jan. 10-11 at Lake of the Ozarks. During that time, Barker showed a 35-minute video by one of his favorite teachers, Ravi Zacharias, on the seriousness of sin. In the process, Barker said he agreed with what Zacharias teaches in that man is not just unethical, he is lost and dead apart from the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Barker likes to trace a pattern of preaching that goes through several groups of sin in lists, believing that God will use that type of teaching to help bring about holiness in the churches.
“Unless you believe this (that man is dead in his sins), you will not become passionate,” Barker said. “Man is not just a bad guy, but man is dead without Christ.”
The vitality in his presentation style may be explained, in part, by some of the company that he keeps.
“I am not a charismatic, but I have a lot of charismatic friends,” he said.
Barker said that elements of his MBC ministry will be prophetic, instructional and encouraging.
“I feel a responsibility to encourage the pastors because of what they’re under,” he said. “It’s much more difficult now to be a pastor than it was 20 years ago.”
He said he is coming to Missouri simply because it is God’s will.
“We know something’s cooking,” Barker said. “I think that God is just waiting to do something in Missouri.”