By Brian Koonce
BRANSON – No Missouri Baptist will have to drive more than two and a half hours to attend the 2010 Evangelism Conference.
The statewide “main event” will be Jan. 25-26 at First Baptist Church, Branson, while one-day regional conferences will be held Feb. 9 at Frederick Boulevard, St. Joseph; Feb. 23 at Calvary, Hannibal; and March 9 at Miner, Sikeston. There will also be a Hispanic/Multi-Cultural Evangelism Conference at the Keeter Center at the College of the Ozarks in Branson.
“We really wanted to make it available to every Missouri Baptist,” said Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Evangelism Director Gary Taylor. “It’s very practical and workable for people all over the state. You’ll be home by 11 or 11:30.”
The statewide event in Branson will feature Chuck Kelley, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary; Evangelist Ron Herrod; Jerry Pipes, director of mass evangelism at the North American Mission Board; and Larry Winn, pastor of Hebron Baptist in Dacula, Ga. Southern Baptist Convention President Johnny Hunt – who was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer – has had to withdraw from the conference due to health considerations. A replacement for his sessios has not been announced.
“We’ve got vocational evangelists, three young and effective evangelistic pastors in the state, and some more veteran guys,” Taylor said. “There’s something for everyone.”
The Northwest conference in St. Joseph will feature: Evangelist Don Walton; Tim Sadler, pastor of First Baptist, Macon; and John Swadley, pastor of Forest Park Baptist, Joplin.
The Northeast conference in Hannibal will feature: Evangelist Jim McNiel; Paul Purvis, pastor of First Baptist, Forsyth; and Ralph Sawyer, pastor of First Baptist, Wentzville.
The Southeast conference in Sikeston will feature: Evangelist Clyde Chiles; Derek Griggs, pastor of First Baptist, Nixa; and Hosea Bilyeu, pastor of Ridgecrest Baptist, Springfield.
Ken Hemphill, evangelist and author of SPLASH, a new book on personal evangelism, will be at all three regional conferences. MBC Worship Specialist John Francis will lead worship for each of the three regional events.
The 2010 Evangelism Conference is meant to jumpstart God’s Plan for Sharing (GPS), a nationwide evangelism initiative, in Missouri. Each event, including the statewide event in Branson, will feature breakout sessions on key steps in the GPS process: Praying, Engaging, Sowing and Harvesting.
Taylor is urging churches, pastors and laity to rise up and put a door hanger with a tract and an invitation to attend Easter services on the front door of every home in Missouri in the weeks leading up to Easter, April 4. Churches can contact their local association to order the door hangers through the MBC.
Missouri Baptists can register for the evangelism conference online at www.mobaptist.org/sec or call 800-736-6227 ext. 651.