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November 19, 2007
TAYLORS, S.C. (BP)--In a previous first-person column, I talked about the presentation of our North American Mission Board at this year's Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Indianapolis regarding a 10-year, multi-faceted, flexible evangelism strategy which will point our churches in a common direction of winning this continent for Christ.
It is a powerful and needed new direction. Many churches know that they need to be winning others to Christ, but simply do not know how.
Part of this initiative is entitled "ENGAGING." In other words, the goal will be for every believer to be sharing as a trained witness. The Scripture says in 2 Corinthians 5:18, 20, "Now everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation ... Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ; certain that God is appealing through us, we plead on Christ's behalf, 'Be reconciled to God.'"
Many people would wonder if an evangelism strategy simply means the adoption of a new tool or program to sell to churches. You need to know that this new evangelism initiative will include a multitude of tools, programs and ministries which will relate to the various churches in our convention. We are a massively diverse body of believers and differ in geographical, ethnic and cultural ways. This initiative will offer a large number of tools and programs from which churches can choose that will be appropriate to their setting. Almost everyone has one favorite program which they believe is superior to others.
However, to quote one preacher of yesteryear, "I like what I'm doing better than what you're not doing." In other words, we need to make sure we are doing something and to quit criticizing others who are also trying to do their best to train people in soul-winning and evangelism. Are we engaging the believers in our churches with a true equipping ministry so that they know how to share the Gospel as God gives them opportunities? This is an extremely important part of this initiative.
Frank Page is president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C. The next column in this four-part series will appear in Baptist Press May 19.