by Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board.
ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) — I understand that Southern Baptists are concerned about baptism numbers and at the North American Mission Board we are as well. That is why at NAMB we are doing everything we can to stir up enough dust to get pastors to see the need to motivate and educate their people on how to share their faith and encourage them to get out there and do it.
Engage24 events — Beginning this fall, NAMB will sponsor a series of Engage24 conferences for pastors. The events will be led by pastors to help pastors engage their churches in evangelism. The three Engage24 events in 2016 will be held Aug. 18-19 at Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tenn.; Sept. 1-2 at Lenexa Baptist Church near Kansas City; and Oct. 4-5 at NAMB’s headquarters in Alpharetta, Ga.
National Mobilizers for Evangelism — We will soon announce the names of pastors who will serve as National Mobilizers for Evangelism with NAMB. These pastors will continue in their current pastoring roles but also spend time stirring up a movement for evangelism among Southern Baptists.
2017 Crossover Phoenix Crusade — On the Saturday before next year’s Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Phoenix, NAMB will partner with Harvest America to conduct a city-wide crusade. We have already secured the University of Phoenix Stadium for this event and you will want to make plans to come early and be part of this historic evangelistic effort.
Your Church On Mission blog — We have launched a new blog where we collect the best evangelism practices used by churches today, as well as interviews and guests posts from pastors. The blog already has several helpful posts and we are adding more all the time.
National Evangelism Response Center — We have upgraded our Evangelism Response Center so we can now respond to peoples’ spiritual needs in the ways they are most comfortable connecting with technology.
Send Relief — Our new compassion ministry initiative, Send Relief, will give churches and individuals ideas, resources and opportunities to serve locally and nationally as they meet physical needs while also sharing the hope of Christ. This will be a great way to build bridges for evangelism.
Apologetics — Our apologetics website recently received a brand new look and you can use it to search for reliable information about the most prominent world religions, cults and denominations. We will also be adding new apologetics resources soon.
God’s Plan for Sharing (GPS) — We continue working with churches and state partners to complete the GPS 2020 emphasis in the year 2020. You can find dozens of resources at GPS2020.net.
3 Circles — Our 3 Circles: Life Conversation Guide has been popular and effective with 1.87 million guides in print and 55,000 downloads of the app version. This is a great way to turn everyday conversations into Gospel conversations.
Church Planting — I believe church planting is the most effective evangelistic strategy of all. It’s the whole reason Paul and Barnabas left Antioch — to go out and start new churches that would reach new people for Christ. We will continue to help Southern Baptists become more involved in this priority.
I believe that together our Southern Baptist family can turn declining baptism numbers around. There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to evangelism but every church and every believer is charged by Jesus to be evangelistic. The North American Mission Board can’t do that for you, but we are committed to providing resources and keeping the emphasis in front of Southern Baptists until all of us embrace what it means to live life on mission for Him.