By Charles W. Short
Arizona Southern Baptists demonstrated their love of evangelism and desire to be effective in evangelism by flocking to Engage 24 in record numbers.
The North American Mission Board has been holding Engage 24, a traveling evangelism workshop, several times a year in different settings around the country.
The event at North Phoenix Baptist Church Feb. 5-6 set records as the largest to date, with all 220 slots reserved in advance; additional hopeful attendees were on a waiting list, and others showed up at the door. Attendees came from all over the country, but the vast majority were pastors or staff members from Arizona churches.
Joel Southerland, NAMB national evangelism strategist, recruited speakers from highly evangelistic churches to bring messages that blend inspiration and instruction. Workshop attendees were reminded why they love bringing people to faith and were able to expand their tools for making it happen.
John Meador, pastor of First Baptist Church, Euless, Texas, told how meeting basic human needs in the community can earn a church the right to share the gospel. Through church members’ involvement in 6 Stones (6stones.org) — a coalition of churches, other nonprofits, businesses, schools and cities working to transform communities — the Euless church has seen 7,400 people profess their faith in Christ in 10 years.
“An evangelistic church is not the church where the pastor preaches the gospel, but where the entire church shares the gospel,” Meador said.
No matter what type of church you are in, you should think “every Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday” for the church, said Tim Dowdy, pastor of Eagle’s Landing First Baptist Church, McDonough, Ga. “There is always someone out there that needs Jesus.”
Furthermore, Dowdy said, why would God send you lost people if you are not prepared to introduce those people to Jesus?
Noe Garcia, pastor of North Phoenix Baptist Church, spoke about his first years at North Phoenix as he has seen God revitalize and redesign the church. His approach has been to focus on the basics of trusting God. Prayer, confession, biblical insight and courage are weapons of spiritual warfare that can grow any church, he said.
Ted Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church, Pensacola, Fla., challenged pastors to lead their church members to pray every day for 60 days for an opportunity to witness, the discernment to recognize the opportunity and the courage to take the opportunity.
Johnny Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Ga., and James Merritt, pastor of Cross Pointe Church, Duluth, Ga., inspired attendees toward evangelism and pointed to a new emphasis, Who’s Your One (whosyourone.com). It is designed to help address the heart problem hindering church members from sharing their faith.
Eddy Pearson, Arizona Southern Baptist Convention church life team facilitator, invited NAMB to bring Engage 24 to Arizona. Ultimately, every church that has given to the Cooperative Program and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering helped make this event possible.