State Evangelism Conference takes shape
JEFFERSON CITY – Bob Caldwell, state evangelism director for the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC), is expecting a big State Evangelism Conference Jan. 22-23 at Ridgecrest Baptist Church, Springfield.
“We’re getting more calls than we’ve ever had in the past,” he said. “I’m looking for record attendance this year, by God’s grace, and I’m looking for God to do even greater things than He did last year.”
Part of the anticipation that is building around the conference is the presence of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) president at the top of the lineup. Frank Page, pastor of First Baptist Church, Taylors, S.C., is scheduled to preach the first message in the early afternoon of Jan. 22. The session begins with worship at 1 p.m.
The other five speakers are: Ron Barker, MBC personal evangelism / spiritual awakening specialist; Phil Hoskins, pastor, Higher Ground Baptist Church, Kingsport, Tenn.; David Uth, pastor, First Baptist Church, Orlando, Fla.; Alvin Reid, associate dean for Proclamation Studies, professor of evangelism and Bailey Smith Chair of Evangelism, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, N.C.; and Richard Harris, vice president, church planting group, North American Mission Board.
Music will be handled by Chuck Sullivan of Grayson, Ga., who is returning for his second consecutive year at this conference, and Hosea Bilyeu, the host pastor whose multi-talented musical family has also agreed to return to the conference and help lead worship.
The theme of the conference is “Rescue.” Its meaning is twofold. First, the church in North America is in need of being rescued from apathy, Caldwell said. Second, the lost are in need of being rescued from Hell.
Count on the conference preachers to drive home the first point from a variety of different angles.
“We don’t have a burden for lost people,” Caldwell said. “That’s why we’re not seeing people come to Christ. We’re not people of prayer and we’re not people with a broken heart.”
Page will be followed to the pulpit by Harris, with Reid and Uth speaking on the evening of Jan. 22. After the morning breakout sessions on Jan. 23, Barker will speak followed by Hoskins, with Uth and Reid finishing up the conference that night.
“I’m praying that this year we’ll see some college age, some singles and some high school students walk in the door (at night) that can’t come during the day,” Caldwell said.
Additional prayer requests for the conference are: that God’s spirit will move; that people will receive a burden for the lost; for all speakers and worship leaders; for thousands to come to Christ across Missouri; for safe travel for those attending; and for good weather.
The host hotel is the Sleep Inn at 233 El Camino Alto, (417) 886-2464. The MBC rate is $62.99 per night for two double beds. To get this rate, reservations must be made by Jan. 7. Rates are good for the nights of Jan. 21-23.
Other hotels in the area are: Quality Inn & Suites, 3930 S. Overland Ave., (417) 888-0898, $62.99 (two queens or king); Baymont Inn & Suites, 3776 S. Glenstone Ave., (417) 889-8188, $60.50 (single or double); Residence Inn, 1303 E. Kingsley, (417) 890-0020, $124 (two queens or king) or $159 (two-bedroom suite); Clarion Hotel, 3333 S. Glenstone Ave., (417) 883-6550, $62 (two queens or king); Arbor Suites at the Mall, 1550 E. Raynell Place, (417) 887-8383, $59 (king); Hampton Inn, 3232 S. Glenstone Ave., (417) 882-6611, $72.90 (two doubles or king).