RA congress sees 81 profession of faith
By Bob Baysinger
April 27, 2004
|Gary Morrow, left, and Dean Sutton, MBC Disaster Relief workers, prepare to step into the new truck purchased with Missouri Missions Offering funds for the Disaster Relief Ministry of the MBC. Pathway photo by Bob Baysinger|
SEDALIA – It certainly was a “Good Friday" when about 900 young men and their leaders from Missouri Baptist churches gathered April 9 for their annual Royal Ambassador (RA) State Congress on the Missouri State Fairgrounds.
It was good from the standpoint that it actually was “Good Friday," the day that more than 2,000 years ago Jesus Christ went to the cross as payment for the sins of mankind.
It was also good because the Missouri Baptist Convention’s (MBC) Men’s Ministry was able to put on display for the RAs the “new" truck that will be used to deliver equipment and supplies to serve at disaster sites in Missouri and across the nation. The truck was purchased with Missouri Mission Offering (MMO) gifts from MBC churches.
But what made it a “very Good Friday" was the fact that 81 boys made professions of faith in Jesus Christ at the Friday night rally following a message by Scott Brawner.
SEDALIA – Scott Brawner, MBC youth evangelism specialist, rappels to the stage floor at the RA Congress April 9. Pathway photo by Bob Baysinger
|SEDALIA – Scott Brawner, MBC youth evangelism specialist, rappels to the stage floor at the RA Congress April 9. Pathway photo by Bob Baysinger|
Brawner, youth evangelism specialist in the MBC evangelism department and a former U.S. Army Ranger, captured the youths’ attention quickly when he dropped a heavy counterweight sandbag from a catwalk near the auditorium ceiling and rappelled head-first onto the stage floor 60 feet below.
Dressed in Army green, Brawner grabbed the Bible he had placed on the stage floor, turned to the 37th Psalm and told the boys he wanted to talk to them about “becoming a standard bearer."
Brawner explained how he had served as a sniper during the 1991 Gulf War with the Army’s 1st Ranger Battalion in a foremost position. In the Christian’s life, Brawner said, those who occupy that position must “trust the Lord and do good."
After asking all men who had served in the U.S. military at some point in their life to stand, Brawner told the Royal Ambassadors to look around and see all the men who have been — and are continuing to be —“standard bearers."
“I think it’s a good thing to get people’s attention at the beginning," Brawner said when asked about his rappelling maneuver. “My goal, however, was to transfer that attention from myself to the Gospel. Given the current state of our country being at war, what I did really brought the boys’ attention to the more than 100 vets whom I asked to stand.
“I wanted them to see the sacrifice their leaders had made and also the sacrifice the Lord Jesus had made. I wanted the boys to see that the duty of sacrifice goes beyond the uniform to the cross of Christ."
Some of the Royal Ambassadors brought unchurched friends with them to the two-day meeting.
“It doesn’t matter what your denomination is," Brawner said as he brought his message to a close. “The only thing that matters is your relationship to Christ.
“Jesus Christ described Himself as ‘the way,’ and the definition of ‘way’ is a path, road or highway that affords passage from one place to another. We are told in the Bible to commit our way to the Lord. What you will find in life is that the more you run away from God, the more you will run into Him. God preordained for you to be in this auditorium this Easter weekend."
As the invitation was extended, boys and their leaders began streaming to the front to stand in front of Brawner, indicating their willingness to invite Jesus Christ into their heart.
Danny Decker, who serves as the men’s ministry specialist for the MBC, said follow-up is being done on the boys who made decisions for Christ.
“Some pastors who were there followed up with some of the kids Friday night at the hotel. I talked with the pastors and they were pretty confident that the boys had made real decisions. They were pleased.
“We want to guard against giving the boys a false sense of hope. That’s why follow-up is so important with children."
Overall, Decker said, the 2004 RA Congress was a success.
“Scott did a great job keeping the kids’ attention," Decker said. “He kept them in focus."