Global Pastors Network draws 2,000 in focus on evangelism

ORLANDO, Fla. (BP)--A meeting of 2,000 pastors in Florida continued the legacy of Bill Bright of Campus Crusade, who died in 2003 but lived a life of proclaiming the Gospel to millions worldwide. Thirty-five speakers, including Southern Baptist Convention President Bobby Welch, challenged pastors to develop the leadership skills necessary to see the Great Commission fulfilled in their lifetime.

Preaching from Jeremiah 8 on “How to Recruit Volunteers for Ministry,” Welch said today’s church leaders must “leave nothing for the next generation. We need to do it all right now, right here.”

“We need to mobilize the membership,” he said during the Jan. 25-27 Global Pastors Network Billion Soul Pastors Conference at Faith Assembly Church in Orlando. “We cannot go to sleep, and I don’t think this crowd is going to let that happen.”

Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, launched the pastors network in 2002 with James O. Davis, the current president of the network, with a goal of providing pastors with the best Christian leadership training available.

“This movement of God that you see before you has been called the greatest concerted effort of evangelism in history,” Davis said at the conference. “This room is full of leaders who believe that the Great Commission can be accomplished in our generation, and everyone here wants to be a part of it. Those who are not networking will eventually be not working.”

At the conference, top Christian and business leaders shared tips on leading people worldwide to share the Gospel with others so that all can be reached for Christ. In addition to Welch, former SBC President James Merritt and former Pastors’ Conference President Ronnie Floyd addressed the gathering. The audience represented more than 40 denominations, and pastors came from every state and 20 countries.

Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Guiliani spoke on “How to Lead in Tough Times,” recalling moments from Sept. 11, 2001, when, he said, faith was an important factor in keeping people grounded despite the chaos around them.

“People will follow hope,” he said. “Isn’t that what the early church offered -- optimism and the beautiful idea of salvation? Whether in a church, politics, business or sports, it makes a difference when you lead with hope.”

Truett Cathy, founder of the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain, told the pastors he had never seen a conflict between business principles and biblical principles, while Al Weiss, president of worldwide operations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, shared how his faith keeps his life in order.

“I live out my priorities putting God first, followed by my wife, family, ministry and then my job,” Weiss said. “Success is measured at the end of life, not at the peak. Putting business leaders with ministry leaders is so big that you can’t do it by yourself. We must work together. That is why Global Pastors Network is doing such an important job.”

The network plans to organize a Billion Soul Sunday, a day of worldwide prayer for a billion souls to be saved, which will be held sometime this fall.

A Global Pastors Summit will be held in the Los Angeles area Feb. 7 at Faithful Central Bible Church in Inglewood, Calif., to further push toward the goal of equipping pastors to plant 5 million churches and win 1 billion people to Christ worldwide over the next decade.

The one-day meeting will feature some of the top pastors, evangelists and educators from around the world sharing evangelism techniques and tips for reaching the nations for Christ.

“This is by far the greatest evangelism thrust since the day of Pentecost,” Bishop Kenneth Ulmer of Faith Central said. “We have been given the opportunity to reach, win and disciple a billion souls for Jesus Christ. We can see this vision come to pass if we will work together.”

Speakers will include Merritt, Ted Haggard of the National Association of Evangelicals, and Elmer Towns, cofounder of Liberty University, among others.

“The more we synergize together the more we can evangelize together as we move forward to partnering together for 5 million new churches for a billion soul harvest,” Davis said.

Three more regional summits are scheduled throughout 2006 in Chicago, Dallas and Minneapolis.


For more information, visit www.gpn.tv or www.billionsoul.org.