Evangelism confab features ERC witnessing
JEFFERSON CITY—The State Evangelism Conference Jan. 28-29 at First Baptist Church, Arnold, is going to be a showcase for the Evangelism Response Center (ERC) of the North American Mission Board (NAMB) for the second consecutive year.
First Arnold will be a place where volunteers will take phone calls and refer names and addresses to a local church for the purpose of evangelism. The goal is to guide new converts to a “covenant church” with the ERC, meaning the church is committed to follow up on any salvation decisions that are made in the immediate area.
Danny Hartwell, pastor, First Baptist Church, Hollister, is heading up the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) effort through the ERC during the two days of the State Evangelism Conference. ERC-trained volunteers are urged to call him at (417) 334-6970 and be available for service. On Jan. 27, churches in Missouri are being encouraged to have on their signs out front the message, “For more information about new life in Jesus Christ, call 1-888JESUS2008.” Calls to that number can then be routed to Arnold.
“One of the wonderful things about evangelism in the Bible is there’s no one way that fits all,” said Gary Taylor, MBC state evangelism director. “Simon Peter, when he’s dealing with Cornelius, there was one way. He dealt with a Gentile. When you look at Paul, speaking to Jews in their synagogues, there’s another approach. Paul goes to Mars Hill, and you see a completely different way. That’s biblical, New Testament evangelism.
“And so the ERC is just another tool of the many ways to get out the Gospel.”
During the conference itself, Sammy Gilbreath, state evangelism director for the Alabama Baptist State Convention, and Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, will be the main speakers. Gilbreath will close the program Monday night and Luter will preach the final message on Tuesday.
Reggie McNeal, missional leadership specialist for Leadership Network of Dallas; Gary Hollingsworth, pastor, Immanuel Baptist Church, Little Rock, Ark.; Jimmy Kinnaird, North American Mission Board personal and event evangelism manager; and Bob Caldwell, pastor of outreach for the host church.
McNeal will join MBC specialists Sondi Scroggins, Matt Kearns and Lyle Witcher in a lineup of breakout speakers for two separate sessions that begin at 9:30 a.m. and 10:40 a.m. on Jan. 29. Other breakout session speakers are: Samuel Gonzalez, director of cultural ministries/mission trip coordinator, Greene County Baptist Association; Pieter Van Waarde, pastor, Woodcrest Chapel, Columbia; Rod Casey, associate pastor, Woodcrest Chapel, Columbia; Ron Ratliff, pastor, Tenth Street Baptist Church, Trenton; Iris Blue, Mission Service Corps volunteer, Lucas, Texas; and Jaye Martin, founder, HeartCall Women’s Evangelism, Alpharetta, Ga.
Running parallel to the State Evangelism Conference will be a special event for Hispanic and Filipino Americans starting at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 28 and running through an evening session beginning at 6:30 p.m., then resuming at 9 a.m. Jan. 29 and going all day and on into the evening. Leading the Hispanic conference, which will examine strategic ways to reach Hispanic families in Missouri, will be MBC Multicultural Church Planting Strategist Mauricio Vargas. Eduardo Gonzales, pastor of the Filipino-American Christian Church, South County, St. Louis, will focus on the Filipino conference group.
Taylor has asked Kearns, who directs the MBC student ministry, to head up a prayer focus for the evangelism conference. Kearns is charged with getting college students to pray for the event beginning Jan. 28.
“That, to me, is going to be the most important thing that happens in the conference because Jesus said, ‘Without me, you can do nothing,’” Taylor said. “If we don’t pray, it’s not going to happen. The fact that prayer is being offered like that is going to make the difference.”