|KANSAS CITY — Lexis Bryant, 5, left, and Lexis Dorpine, 5, of Englewood Apartments were ministered to by a group of Missouri Baptist missionaries in the Kansas City portion of the Missouri Baptist Convention/Global Encounter evangelism campaign.|
‘And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved’
MBC/Global Encounter help lead 442 to Christ
By Allen Palmeri
August 17, 2004
JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Baptist Convention/Global Encounter partnership to evangelize inner cities continued to bear fruit this summer as Missouri Baptist missionaries worked to see 442 salvations.
A total of 875 missionaries from 94 churches hit the field in three locations — Houston, Texas; St. Louis and Kansas City. Missouri Baptists made up the bulk of that force with 667 missionaries from 63 churches. An additional army of 1,000 missionaries from Houston’s First Baptist Church led 300 more people to Christ. Caldwell is humbled by the numbers.
“We’re not trying to build the kingdom of Missouri,” he said. “We’re trying to build the kingdom, but my main focus is Missouri.”
Caldwell, state evangelism director for the MBC, explained that when these student missionaries conduct Vacation Bible Schools, they do it in the spirit of the Barna Research Group studies that indicate 95 percent of all Christians are converted before the age of 13. Of the 742 salvations in the 2004 campaign, Caldwell said that about 70 percent were children ages 9-13, with young adults and adults coming in at around 30 percent.
“We must not be afraid to share Jesus with a child, but we have to be very responsible in the way we do that because children are very impressionable,” Caldwell said. “We had a lot of adults come to Christ this time. In one setting alone, we had 16 adults commit to Christ in one Parents’ Night.”
Evangelizing in the inner city is only one prong of the partnership’s three-pronged approach. Ministering to declining churches is the second prong.
At First Baptist Church, Riverside, a congregation near Kansas City that has declined to five members, MBC/Global Encounter canvassed the area and God was gracious enough to draw 81 people to a Thursday night church service. Four of those people were saved. A total of 29 were converted that week – nearly six times the number that have been regularly attending the church.
The third prong, training student leaders, is the most strategic, Caldwell said. At the end of the time in St. Louis, where 404 missionaries were on the field, Caldwell asked how many of them had led a person to Christ for the first time. At least 150 hands went up, he said.
In Kansas City, Travis Smith, 18, of First Baptist Church, Braymer, said he is blessed to be a part of a church group where students are being trained to share their faith at a young age.
“We have kids in seventh and eighth grade (at First Braymer) who have already led kids to Christ,” he said.
Churches like First Braymer, located in a town of about 900 people, are setting the standard for the entire MBC/Global Encounter movement, Caldwell said. The key is to get student missionaries to a place where God is likely to not only use them but to multiply their influence. In Kansas City, a first-year ministry site for MBC/Global Encounter, 53 people were saved.
“The reason why most believers today are not soul winners is because they have not led that first person to Christ,” Caldwell said. “You lead one person to Christ and it’s very addictive. You just don’t get over it.
“If you train several hundred young lives to lead people to Christ, they’re going to lead hundreds of thousands of people to Jesus in a lifetime.”
Dates for the 2005 MBC/Global Encounter campaign are as follows: July 8-16, Houston; July 15-23, St. Louis; and July 15-23, Kansas City.
Caldwell’s vision for 2006 is to have 1,000 guest missionaries in Houston, 1,000 in St. Louis and 500 in Kansas City.