FIRST-PERSON: 'Testimonies' worth reading
GREENSBORO, N.C. (BP)--When messengers walk through the doors of the Greensboro Coliseum Complex during the SBC annual meeting, they will be greeted by the traditional tables loaded with copies of SBC Life. However, this year there is a special treat. Next to the stacks of magazines will be a free book, "Testimonies of Giving Your Faith Away, Everyone Can!" by SBC President Bobby Welch.
Every pastor faces the reality that the illustration bucket sometimes gets dry. Either he starts running short of personal illustrations and begins repeating his past experiences or he searches the Internet for illustrations. If he yields to the Internet, he runs the risk of being victimized by those who are prone to publish urban myths and fantasy as truth.
Certainly, the personal up-to-date illustrations of sharing the Gospel have the greatest capacity for transformational leadership. One of the greatest models for “as you are going” witnessing is Bobby Welch. "Testimonies" -- published by the SBC Executive Committee -- is a collection of divine appointments seized by this recently retired pastor, whose final term as SBC president ends in Greensboro.
One of the things that makes "Testimonies" so compelling is the freshness of the testimonies. They have the ring of genuineness and powerfully illustrate the radical changes that occur when God’s people are on mission to share the Gospel.
Haven’t these testimonies appeared in print before? Yes, the brief testimonies are reprints of Welch’s SBC Life columns that have run since April 2002. But who wants to wade through all those back issues to find just the right illustration about the value of touching lives in Jesus’ name?
Here in one concise volume are 42 testimonies edited by Kenyn Cureton and John Revell. Not all the testimonies actually happened to Welch. Some are testimonies written by others, who either were sharing the Gospel or found faith in Christ through those who shared a witness of Christ using the FAITH evangelism strategy. Some favorites of mine are the “Oh Great, It’s those Church People Again” and the “From the Jail Cell (Wrong Place, Right Time or Right Place, Wrong Time)”.
If you are coming to Greensboro, walk right up to the entry tables and pick up your copy. If you come early to one of the sessions, you have just enough time to get a pre-program blessing from reading any one of the chapters.
John L. Yeats is director of the communications team for the Louisiana Baptist Convention and is the recording secretary for the Southern Baptist Convention.