SBC launches Nat'l Evangelism Initiative
INDIANAPOLIS (BP)--Geoff Hammond, president of the North American Mission Board, unveiled that National Evangelism Initiative to messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention June 10 in Indianapolis.
"Just imagine if every believer in North America started sharing the Gospel and every person heard that Gospel by the year 2020," Hammond said.
As part of NAMB's report and presentation to the convention, Hammond outlined the broad focus of the initiative that has been developed by the mission board working in conjunction with state and local Southern Baptist leaders with the encouragement of SBC President Frank Page.
Prior to the annual convention, Page said he thought the most important part of the meeting would be the unveiling of the National Evangelism Initiative, which he believes "is going to have great benefits as churches come together over the next 10 years to push stronger than ever in an evangelistic direction."
Hammond said the initiative will be "multifaceted and flexible. It can be contextualized for your particular mission field, whether that is rural or urban." The initiative, called “God's Plan for Sharing” (GPS), consists of four areas of focus -- praying, engaging, sowing and harvesting.
The prayer component of the initiative calls upon Southern Baptists to commit to pray for people who don't have a personal relationship with Christ and includes strategies such as community prayer walking, discovering new lost people for whom to pray, and lifting up the work of missionaries in North America.
The initiative also will lead Christians to engage in witness training and to begin new efforts to reach out to those who do not know Christ. These include starting evangelistic small group Bible studies, starting new churches and intentionally engaging in evangelistic efforts in their neighborhoods, schools, workplaces and homes.
Third, the initiative will emphasize "sowing" by encouraging Southern Baptists to intentionally share the plan of salvation with the people around them.
Lastly, harvesting will encourage Christians and churches to celebrate God's activity in the lives of those around them as He brings them to salvation.
Hammond shared a 30-second television advertisement designed to re-introduce Southern Baptists to a wide audience. The ad emphasizes how Southern Baptists minister to those in need and serve in crisis situations.
The ad will be made available to state Southern Baptist conventions and other Baptist partners who want to make it part of their local outreach campaigns. Radio, print and Internet ads also will be available. The video can be downloaded at www.wearesouthernbaptists.org.
The initiative will be available at first in four languages -- English, Spanish, Korean and Chinese.
Page said he is confident Southern Baptists will respond positively to the challenge presented in the National Evangelism Initiative to share the Gospel with every resident of North America.
"As I have been around the country and around the world, the laypeople I have talked with are ready to get out and do something for Christ," Page said. "And I think given the proper motivation and direction, they'll do it."
Hammond acknowledged the initiative's bold goals but said Southern Baptists should settle for nothing less.
"God positions us everyday with opportunities for sharing our faith," Hammond said. "If you think of a GPS device, it helps get us to our destination. And our destination is every believer sharing, every person hearing by 2020."
Mike Ebert is publications coordinator for the North American Mission Board. For more information about the National Evangelism Strategy, visit www.nei2020.org.