ST. CHARLES – Ronnie Floyd, president and CEO of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, shared a sobering statistic with the Missouri Baptist Annual Meeting audience.
“Seventy five percent of the people in the United States are unable to testify to faith in Christ,” he said. “That means 329 million people are in desperate need of Jesus Christ. 7.7 billion across the globe don’t know Jesus as Savior.”
“The vision of Jesus Christ,” Floyd continued, “is for us to reach every person for Jesus Christ in every town, every city, every state, and every nation.”
Floyd based his comments on Acts 2:14-21. “Peter stood to preach,” he said, “and God poured out the Spirit on humanity. Peter used the words of Joel to explain the purpose of the Spirit in verse 22, ‘And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
“Jesus gave us our marching orders in Acts 1:8,” Floyd added. The passage speaks of the church’s calling to be Christ’s witnesses even “to the ends of the earth.”
Floyd pointed out what evangelism means to the church: “When reaching people for Jesus Christ is prioritized in the church, it always progresses beyond where it began.”
Vision 2025 is a strategy that implements evangelism through the Southern Baptist Convention and Floyd outlined the action steps involved in his vision:
1. Increase our total number of full-time, fully-funded missionaries by a net gain of 500, giving us 4,200 full-time, fully-funded missionaries through the International Mission Board.
2. Add at least 5,000 new churches to our Southern Baptist family, giving us more than 50,000 churches.
Floyd added that God is bringing many opportunities to us in America: More than 60 million Latinos now live in America, comprising more than 21 percent of our population. We only have 3,500 Hispanic Southern Baptist churches. Without a major thrust in reaching the Hispanic peoples across the United States through evangelism and church planting , how can we reach our nation with the gospel?
3. Increase our total number of workers in the field through a new emphasis on “calling out the called” and then preparing those who are called out by the Lord. Floyd said, “God wants more to harvest the field. He needs more pastors, planters, scholars and teachers. As the church prays, God calls. As God calls, the church calls out those who are being called.”
4. Turn around our ongoing decline in reaching, baptizing and discipling 12-to-17-year-olds in the prime of their teenage years.
Floyd said, “They are not the church of the future, but they are the church of the present and the future.”
5. Increase our annual giving in successive years to reach and surpass $500 million given through the Cooperative Program to achieve these Great Commission goals.