Can we win, baptize one million in one year?
May 31, 2005
We have a true American hero serving us. He was a hero as he served America in Vietnam as a combat officer in the Rangers of the U.S. Army. In a fire fight one night, he was hit in the chest so badly by an enemy rocket propelled grenade that there seemed to be no hope of survival with so much of his chest being blown away.
According to his personal testimony, as he lay there choking on his own blood; while still under heavy enemy fire, he describes how a “black angel” in combat fatigues came running out of nowhere in the darkness toward an evacuation helicopter. That “angel” reached down as he ran, scooped up our hero and threw him in the chopper as it took off. That wounded Green Beret captain is Bobby Welch. Today, he serves us just as heroically by his example as president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).
I am so grateful Welch is our president. I have known him as a personal friend for about 20 years. In all that time, I have been inspired by his passion for winning people to Christ, his preaching, and his passion for missions. He has never wavered. His church, First Baptist Church, Daytona Beach, Fla., gives 12.6 percent of its budget to the Cooperative Program for Southern Baptist missions. They are committed. His church has for decades consistently trained its laymen in the skills of personal evangelism, first by Evangelism Explosion and then, about eight years ago became the birthplace of F.A.I.T.H. evangelism training now promoted throughout SBC life by LifeWay Christian Resources.
As president, Welch has challenged us to do ONE thing … double our baptisms in the SBC and see one million souls baptized in one calendar year! Can we do it? The question is more apt to be asked, “Why don’t we do it?” I don’t believe there is a question in anyone’s mind that the Lord would be pleased with this and God is certainly able to grant us a victory like this for His name’s sake. So, why don’t you attempt this great thing for your Savior right where you live?
Setting the stage to launch this “one-million-soul vision,” Welch is asking for 10,000 Southern Baptists to participate in the largest Crossover event in SBC history. Crossover Nashville is a series of events that are scheduled this year over June 18-19. The key date is June 18. You, a group of your friends, or your entire church family can become involved in this strategic launch by searching the details at: http://www.crossoversbc.org, or you may call the strategy office at: 800-558-2090, ext. 2059 for more details.
I believe there is something for everyone this year at Crossover. My mother, Betty Cord, has signed up for an event called the “Potato Drop.” On June 18 thousands of motorcyclists are converging on Nashville for a rally, called “The Gathering.” These are just two of the many events of Crossover.
The vision of winning and baptizing one million new believers to Christ in a single year is a God-sized vision. He is able … there is no question about that. In Missouri Southern Baptist life, State Director of Evangelism Bob Caldwell has laid out the challenge to us as well. He is asking for 10,000 prayer warriors to pray everyday for this goal of doubling our state’s baptism rate and celebrate with these new believers in four “Romans 6” Sundays.
How can we do this? Simply look at your church’s baptism record last year … now double that. You have your goal. Canaan Baptist Church in South St Louis has taken up this challenge with Pastor Bruce McCoy reporting they are nearly half way to their goal of 100 baptisms in the time period of January to May 2005. They have more than seven months left to win the other half. Pastor Bruce and his staff are very excited about how Canaan Church is living out this vision.
In missions strategy, one of the largest people groups of the Middle East are the Kurds. This is the people group that Saddam Hussein tried to systematically murder in Iraq. They are spread throughout Iran, Iraq and Turkey. But did you know that the single largest concentration of Kurdish people outside of their homeland in the Middle East is in Nashville, Tenn.? Wouldn’t it be incredible to win key Kurdish people to Christ in Nashville and see them return to their homeland and bring revival to Iraq? It is not outside the realm of God’s ability and plans.
Crossover Nashville is the launch of a great vision by a great hero. Will you join us in this vision both in Missouri and in Nashville?
The next time you see anyone in a military uniform, walk up to them and tell them, “Thank you, for defending me and our freedom!” I have made it a practice. You will be amazed at how our warriors appreciate those words of encouragement. I would even suggest you grab their restaurant tab for them and tell them “thank you”. I thank God for heroes. I thank God for giving us a warrior/leader like Bobby Welch.