SPRINGFIELD – Sixteen breakout session leaders during the Furnace Conference Feb. 5 and 6 helped attendees put into the content from the main session into a plan for reaching the lost.
Victor Benavides led sessions on servant evangelism events.
“The way to find how to reach people is to talk to people,” he said. “Every servanthood evangelism project is a mini mission trip.”
Charles Billingsly, worship pastor at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va. and worship leader for the Furnace conference led a breakout on being refreshed in worship.
“God talks about keeping the Sabbath more than any other commandment, and yet we are more willing to break it more than any other,” he said. “When you keep the Sabbath things are right in your family and when you stand on the stage as a worship leader you can do it without fear or shame. So, all that to say, the first thing you need to do to be a good worship leader is to be refreshed.”
Matt Kearns, director of leadership development for the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC), spoke about strategies to reach millennials and the unique challenges there.
“This generation will never experience airplanes as just a means of transportation,” he said. “They know them as a weapon. What they know is that the world is unpredictable.”
Gary Mathes, pastoral ministries specialist for the MBC spoke about church revitalization and assessment.
“You need to know where you are, where you’re going and how to get there,” Mathes said. “That’s what assessment is all about.”
Rick Hedger, partnership mission specialist for the MBC, led a breakout on the new Macedonia Project that will see 375 Missouri churches mobilized to reach the St. Louis and Kansas City areas.
“We want to foster a climate of personal evangelism that reaches 2.3 million of the lost population in Missouri. Those six counties make up half of the lost people in our state. We’re averaging 10,000 baptisms a year, and if we stay at that average, it would take us 450 years to reach those lost people without anyone else being born. We need more people mobilized to spread the gospel.”
Chris Forbes, a social media expert, spoke about using Facebook, Twitter and other platforms for the gospel.
“Would Jesus use social media?” he asked. “Yes, and He is using social media. He saw people in need of a shepherd, and that is what I see when I look at my news feed. It is simply another bridge to a lost world.”
Other breakouts included: an introduction to evangelistic Bible storying by Mary Ann Randall, evangelism through exhibitions by Real Encounter Extreme Sports, Bible storying by Mark Snowden, apologetics by Rob Phillips, telephone ministries by Dr. Ravi, church renewal by Bob and Phyllis Foy, GPS (God’s Plan for Evangelism) by Robert Loggins and prayer for spiritual awakening by Malachi Obrien and Chris Williams.