Evangelists adopt Acts 1:8 strategy

GREENSBORO, N.C. (BP)--A proposal for an Acts 1:8 strategy for 2006-07 garnered unanimous support from members of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists during their June 12 business meeting in conjunction with the June 13-14 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Greensboro, N.C.

Toby Frost, senior director of strategic evangelism coordination at the North American Mission Board, presented the document, which proposed numerous recommendations on how members of COSBE may work with local churches, SBC entities, state conventions and Baptist associations in evangelism and missions.

Corresponding to the four arenas of missions in Acts 1:8, the document’s recommendations include:

-- “A Jerusalem Strategy: Church Revivals and Other Special Evangelistic Events”: Each state convention is asked to train state church revival and event evangelism consultants who would be available to churches and associations in planning evangelistic events. Funding of consultants would be shared between state conventions and local churches.

-- “A Judea Strategy: Area-Wide Crusades and Other Regional Harvest Evangelism Events”: Ten “elite” national crusade consultants trained by NAMB would be used by state conventions for conducting area-wide crusades. The consultants’ travel and honoraria would be paid by NAMB.

-- “A Samaria Strategy: Harvest Evangelists in New Work Areas of North America and in Low/No Baptism Churches”: COSBE is asked to choose a development officer “to collect a significant endowment corpus” needed to conduct revivals in “low/no baptism churches.” Frost’s report stated that “$100,000 will be needed to conduct 100-400 harvest church revivals. We recommend doing 10 to 20 of these as a pilot project with budget already supplied by NAMB….”

-- “A Global Strategy: Finding and Winning ‘Lydias’ from Other Nations to Faith in Jesus Christ”: Evangelistic contacts are encouraged with representatives of unreached people groups with a goal of “leading them to faith in Jesus Christ. … COSBE members will provide support for these new Christians to help take the Gospel to their people, tribe or nation.” Frost noted “93 percent of all unreached people groups have a presence in the United States.”

Frost said state evangelism directors will be briefed on the recommendations at their summer state leadership meeting at the LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center, July 30-Aug. 3.

Darrell Robinson, a COSBE member from Texas, made a motion that the COSBE president seek permission during the upcoming SBC meeting to make a motion of appreciation for SBC President Bobby Welch for “his extremely great effort to saturate America with the Gospel.” The motion passed unanimously.

Bill Britt, COSBE’s 2005-06 president, moderated most of the meeting but recused himself from the chair to make two motions, each adopted unanimously.

One Britt motion asked the newly elected COSBE officers to appoint one or two members who would work in Crossover efforts for next year’s SBC meeting.

The other motion will allow COSBE officers to provide a scholarship for up to three college students to attend each year’s retreat to connect with young adults who may contemplating a call to vocational evangelism.

In other action, COSBE members:

-- elected officers: Gary Bowlin, president, Summit, Miss.; Brian Fossett, vice president, Dalton, Ga.; Bob Smith, music director, Huntsville, Ala.; Leon Westerhouse, assistant music director, Birmingham, Ala.; Margaret Allen, secretary and treasurer, Edmond, Okla.; Carl Carrigan, recording secretary, Shreveport, La.; Ray Jenkins, parliamentarian, Fayetteville, Ga.; and two pastor-advisers: Clark Stewart of Harmony Baptist Church, Crystal Springs, Miss., and Shane Craven of Tower Church, Gainesville, Fla.

-- awarded plaques of recognition to three couples who have each been in fulltime evangelism for more than 50 years: Larry and Carmen Walker of Dallas; Clyde and Betty Chiles, Centralia, Mo.; and Jimmy and Margaret Hinson, Mocksville, N.C.

-- elected two members to the council on accountability: Jim McNiel, St. Louis and Marion Warren, Euless, Texas.

-- established a President’s Award to be given annually by the organization’s president to recognize a member who advances “the cause of COSBE and of evangelism.”

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