Evangelists to focus on serving pastors
ST. LOUIS (BP) -- Connecting with pastors and exploring new avenues for serving churches will be the focus when the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists gathers in St. Louis in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting.
To facilitate meetings with pastors, COSBE will abbreviate its traditional meeting schedule, hosting a worship service Sunday morning, June 12, at Tower Grove Baptist Church followed by a lunch and business session. In addition, COSBE will host an ice cream reception for pastors Monday, June 13, from 9-11 p.m. in the Marriot St. Louis Grand's Washington Room.
"Our emphasis this year is on the evangelists' attending the convention and staying as long as they can in order to meet pastors," COSBE president Phil Glisson said.
In previous years, a COSBE retreat Friday and Saturday exhausted some evangelists' convention budgets before the SBC annual meeting began and inhibited their ability to attend the meeting alongside pastors, Glisson said. This year, the abbreviated COSBE schedule aims to align the schedules of evangelists and pastors.
Evangelists are "team players, men who love and appreciate the pastor, who are grateful for the pastor and his church, who want to serve the pastor and his people and work alongside him," Glisson said. "Whatever event he invites us for, whatever he calls it, we want to be available. We want to be used by God to be a blessing to him."
Two important ways evangelists can serve pastors are harvest evangelism and revival meetings, Glisson said. He explained that harvest evangelism focuses on calling lost people to salvation while revival meetings aim to encourage believers.
The formats of events conducted by evangelists vary, Glisson said, and include traditional evangelistic meetings, festivals, retreats, concerts, block parties, children's and youth programs and more -- "anything a pastor might want to do."
Amid all the options, Glisson believes traditional revival meetings remain a fruitful ministry endeavor for many churches, though pastors may want to adopt creative names for such events like "Charge to the Church Week," "God's Family Reunion Week" or "Renewal Week."
Despite claims that revival meetings are an outdated method of rallying a church, "we're finding in our meetings that people will come," Glisson said. "We're finding that our attendance will often equal or even be greater than Sunday morning. The laypeople will still come to revivals if they're offered. And they'll be excited about them."
COSBE's Sunday worship service will begin June 12 at 10 a.m. at Tower Grove -- a 15-minute drive from downtown. Speakers will include Glisson and fellow evangelist Floyd Lammersfeld. The service will also include ventriloquist Teresa Glisson, Gospel illusionist Travis Young and various COSBE musicians.
Potential agenda items at the business session include ministry to the widows of evangelists and opportunities for evangelists to publish books through COSBE Publishing.
A COSBE booth in the SBC exhibit hall will help Southern Baptists understand the work of evangelists internationally and in North America.
Ultimately, the entire slate of COSBE events will be geared toward connecting pastors and evangelists.
"We feel like a lot of pastors do not know evangelists, and a lot of evangelists do not know a lot of pastors," Glisson said. "So we're trying to meet and greet pastors, let them know we're just ordinary people like them who have a heart for the Lord and the church and evangelism."