Evangelism initiative (part 1)
TAYLORS S.C. (BP)--As I have mentioned in previous articles, I have been encouraging the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board to present to our convention a multi-faceted, flexible evangelism strategy which will help pull our churches together over the next years to focus on that which my predecessor, Bobby Welch, emphasized during his tenure.
I have been calling for prayer and spiritual awakening, so that our churches will be on fire once again to reach our nation for Christ. Having heard the call from Welch, we now need to help our churches move in this direction.
Recently, members of a church near my church stated their great desire to reach their area for Christ, but also stated that they simply did not know how to do some of the ministries that can reach people for Christ. They called for us to help them in that regard. Our church is now joining into a new partnership to assist them in learning better how to reach their neighborhood for Christ.
I am intensely excited about the opportunity before Southern Baptists. We can move together to reach this continent for Christ.
The initiative that will be presented in Indianapolis is multi-faceted. In this article and several to come, I will be emphasizing some of its key points.
One of the great aspects of this initiative is that there will be a powerful emphasis upon PRAYING. The call will be that every church will be praying for every lost person. The Bible says in James 5:16, "The intense prayer of the righteous is very powerful." First Timothy 2:1, 3-4 says, "First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone. ... This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."
Are we serious about praying? Are we serious about praying for the lost? God's people need to be mobilized into a mighty, praying army. I am convinced that the key to spiritual awakening is prayer. I am convinced that Satan is wishing to distract and to disrupt our prayer lives.
Recently, I was in Louisville at a prayer conference sponsored by Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the Kentucky Baptist Convention. While there, I sensed a hunger for God's people to take prayer to a new and deeper level. I was blessed by the teaching of Donald Whitney, who is teaching how to pray through Scripture. While I have prayed this style of praying in my own personal prayer life for years, I commend his ministry to you as a means by which God's people can focus more in prayer and be distracted even less.
Would you join me in a recommitment to prayer? If our nation is going to be won to Christ, we must be in deep connection with our Lord who is the only source of power, help and hope.
Frank Page is president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C. The next column in this series will appear in Baptist Press May 5.