Posts Tagged ‘Evangelism’

ENGAGE evangelism conferences

January 13, 2010


This spring is filled with regional opportunities for church staff and layman to recieve inspiration and training in evangelism through Engage, the Texas Baptists evangelism conference that will be held in more than 15 locations.  Conference dates and locations are listed below and will take place during the next four months.

One statewide meeting, Radical Engage, will be held at First Baptist Church in Grapevine on Jan. 24-26 to focus on evangelism in the postmodern age. Rico Tice, British author of “Christianity Explored;” Mike Licona with the North American Mission Board and James Langford with student ministries and evangelism at the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma will be leading sessions and discussions about sharing the gospel with postmoderns.

The Justin Cofield Band will lead worship and much time will be devoted to coffeeshop/roundtable discussions so that those who attend can discuss messages brought in the general sessions as well as trends, issues and methods of evangelism in the mostmodern world.

Registration is not required and the events are free of charge. To find out more about location-specific speakers, topics, locations and more, visit



Fort Worth Jan 14, 2010  
Amarillo Jan 15-16, 2010  
El Paso Jan 29-30, 2010  
Georgetown Feb 10, 2010  
Abilene Feb 16, 2010  
Southeast Texas Feb 17, 2010  
Lubbock Feb 19-20, 2010  
San Antonio (HEC)   Feb 25-27, 2010  
San Antonio Mar 5-7, 2010  
Midland-Odessa Mar 5-6, 2010  
Victoria Mar 22, 2010  
Dallas Metro Apr 16-17, 2010  
Longview Mar 1, 2010  
Radical Engage Jan 24-26, 2010 FBC Grapevine

Hispanic Youth Challenged to Care

September 18, 2009
Leaders of a Hispanic Youth Camp - Summer 2009

Leaders of a Hispanic Youth Camp - Summer 2009

On September 11-13, 150 youth from Hispanic Baptist churches in East Texas  attended camp at Pineywoods Baptist Encampment in Woodlake.  The theme for the camp was “Original Masterpiece”.  Rev. Daniel “Tiny” Dominguez, pastor of Community Heights Baptist Church in Lubbock, was the keynote speaker and seminar leader.

In his seminar, Bro. Domínguez concentrated on the need for youth and their churches to feed the hungry.  Since the hungry have different faces depending on where you live, attendees were asked to identify 2 kinds of people in their communities that face dire circumstances or live below poverty level.  Youth were then challenged to think of practical ways, they as individuals, and their churches, can make a difference in their neighborhoods by meeting one need at a time.  Food and clothing drives were among the most popular ideas mentioned.      

Undoubtedly, Texas Hope 2010 became the underlying emphasis of the camp.  Through powerful worship services and relevant preaching, the lives of many youth were changed.  There were 15 professions of faith, and 60 young people renewed their commitment to Christ. 

This was the last of 4 youth camps the Office of Hispanic Ministries helped support this summer.  In total, there were almost 900 attendees, more than 60 professions of faith, about 150 rededications and 30 calls to ministry.  The fields are truly ripe for harvest!

That makes evangelism easier, and tasty!

September 2, 2009

applepieblogIn the office, we’ve been talking about this story for a few weeks. And each time it’s driven me to cravings. As part of Texas Hope 2010, First Baptist Church in Shallowater is delivering an apple pie to all 700 homes in town. When they present the apple pie to a family, they also ask about any prayer needs and give the family a gospel CD produced by the church.

It struck me that this is a congregation that gets it. Most church members are nervous about doing door-to-door evangelism. And they think most people won’t open their doors when strangers knock on them.

An apple pie breaks down those barriers:

“It’s amazing how a warm, homemade apple pie can put people at ease on both sides of the visit,” said Steve Nieman, a member of the church and coordinator for the apple pie outreach program. “It makes it harder for people to turn us away, and it makes the people in our church more at ease when they have an apple pie in their hands to offer to someone.”

If someone knocks on my door with a free apple pie, I’m opening the door. What do you think of FBC Shallowater’s approach? What other items might help people overcome their evangelism fears?

Putting evangelism first

July 9, 2009

Jon Randles shared this dispatch with me the other day from Northeast Texas. It sounds like great things are happening in Longview.

First Baptist Church in Longview has a rich history of ministry in Northeast Texas. Through time a focus on evangelism had been lost as this significant church was involved in many other worthy ministries in their community and throughout the region. “We made a decision to put intentional evangelism back in a position of priority at FBC and Texas Hope 2010 was a perfect vehicle to implement what was a big part of our vision,” says Dr. Tim Watson, pastor. “We are doing many great ministry things and we want evangelism to be one of them.”

Setting a goal of “110 by 2010”, Tim and the church have done several things already to create an environment of intentional relationship building with pre-Christians throughout the community.  They have focused on each person simply efforting to develop an honest and intentional relationship with one person and praying intentionally for that person’s salvation.

Tim reports that they baptized 32 all of last year and this year thay have already baptized 33 and they are only three months into their run to Easter 2010. The church is awakening to a real understanding of the value of intentional relational evangelism and the power of prayer.

As the folks at FBC accelerate toward Easter 2010, Watson says that a series of opportunities are planned to help harvest those that the Holy Spirit has prepared for salvation. Events include a conference featuring Team Impact in September to reach students, training the church in the Just Walk Across the Room relationship evangelism tool in October, and distribution of the Texas Hope 2010 media cd produced by BGCT and NeedHim in January. This will be followed up with a four day evangelistic event in late January.

“We have taken BGCT resources and the TH 2010 vision and taylored it to our church and community”, Tim states. “It has already been a success and more is coming.”

There are many ways to participate in the goal of TH 2010 to take the Gospel to every Texan by Easter 2010. FBC Longview has crafted a plan that is working for them. Let’s pray that God gives them their heart’s desire for 110 by Easter 2010 and more!  After all, its not numbers, its real people needing a real Savior!

What is wrong with evangelism?

June 11, 2009

The communication team of the BGCT commissioned an intern to do man-on-the-street interviews last September. With video camera in hand, the intern asked random Texans “How do you experience hope on a daily basis?” If money were no object, I’d request they send one out to ask this question, “How do you experience Christians you know on a daily basis?” Wouldn’t it be great if their first response was “Hmmm … Christians? Can’t say it’s true for them all, but the ones I know are replete with integrity. That’s what distinguishes them – their integrity.”  Or …

“Christians? The ones I’ve come across are ludicrously filled with compassion. They’re just plain kind to people!” Or …

“Christians? They unapologetically tell the truth … they shoot straight with you.”

“Christians? They have concern for the poor—no one cares for the poor like Christians do.”

“Christians? They’re humble people … they admit when they are wrong, seek forgiveness and forgive others.”

“Christians? They are genuinely open toward all kinds of people, regardless of their background, race, soceo-economic status. Man, Christians go out of the way to make you feel welcome!”

“Christians? Whenever somebody needs a little encouragement or friendship, Christians are the first to lend a hand.”

Or best of all, what if people said what the ruling council of Israel said of Peter and John, “Christians, they are ordinary people who have been with Jesus” (Acts 3:13).

Click below and listen to the man-on-the-street above-mentioned interview. Precisely two minutes and twenty four seconds (2:24) into the video listen, if you dare, to the lady respond to a question about hope and the church.

You didn’t watch it, did you? That’s ok! She said, “I never disliked myself more than when I was going to church.” She haunts me. She is legion.

We have a real problem in evangelism. But just what is it? I am often told the problem is using the word “evangelism.” Don’t use that word, we are told. Is that the problem with evangelism? Texas Baptists are vocal about evangelism, particularly in regards to best practices. Which is the best practice: prayer evangelism, small group evangelism, personal evangelism, event evangelism, relational evangelism, ministry evangelism, church starting evangelism? Are methods the problem? For myself, I like and support them all!

What is the problem with evangelism? When a newspaper posed the question, “What’s Wrong with the World?” thinker G. K. Chesterton reputedly wrote a brief letter in response: ‘Dear Sirs: I am. Sincerely Yours, G. K. Chesterton.” What is wrong with evangelism? I am.

Scott Willingham

An honest post

June 10, 2009

The other day, Tim Dahl had a truly transparent post about evangelistic opportunities and Texas Hope 2010. Check it out by clicking here. I think all of us understand exactly what Tim is saying. Tim simply was willing to put himself out there.

Today I pray each of us take advantage of the opportunities we have to share our faith.

Evangelistic discipleship

June 9, 2009

Recently I heard Dr. Chuck Kelly, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, speak to leaders in evangelism from across the United States. He took us on a journey back in Southern Baptist time. We went back to 1955 when Southern Baptists baptized close to 450,000 people, almost double the number baptized 10 years earlier. Then he took us forward to today, sadly noting a number of disturbing trends. Creeping universalism is settling into the pews. More and more Baptists believe or at least behave as if they believe that a personal relationship with Christ is not necessary for one to be right with God. Our behavior, the way we live our lives, is blending more and more with the culture. According to Dr. Kelly, we are moving from growth to plateau to decline in our memberships. Then he asked, “What is happening?” Don’t we all want to know!

Dr. Kelly contends Baptists held to a biblical worldview that lead to an unconscious methodology of doing church like a farm — sowing, cultivating, and reaping. We have dropped that baton. Dr. Kelly is talking about a time in Baptist life when we approached evangelistic discipleship making much like the integrated process of farming. He is talking about the Sunday School (small group, cell group, doesn’t matter what you call it), which was the seed bed where the powerful gospel was taught and lived out with the lost invited and involved. At the risk of spelling this wrong, Dr. Kelly calls this Bible-ation, the intertwining of Bible study and relationships. How archaic can you get? A small group of people, lost and saved, studying the Bible together. What good could ever come from that? The Millenials call it “Doing life together.”

What if we picked up the baton that was dropped years ago and went back to farming for the lost? The gospel is just as powerful today as it has ever been! Jesus said, “A sower went out to sow his seed….” (Luke 8:5). Resources are available. Just the other day a church leader who attended an ENGAGE conference said to me, “I got so much out of Phil Miller’s breakout session on making the small group/Sunday School evangelistic.” Sunday School is still a great evangelistic discipleship tool. Rico Tice, a Brit, has written an excellent resource entitled “Christianity Explored” CE is small group study designed for  believers and the lost to do life together through the gospel of Mark. CE is a great evangelistic discipleship tool.

Jesus said, “A sower went out to sow his seed….” (Luke 8:5). Been farmin’ lately?

Scott Willingham

P.S. You can listen to Dr. Kelly’s preaching of this sermon to NOBTS by clicking here. The message starts after about ten minutes of music.`

Sharing the God you know

June 8, 2009

May I ask you a question? No, it is not “Are you sharing your faith?” Good question … but not my question. Are you in love with the God you know? 

Jesus taught us For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). His point is that our cherished treasures subtly but surely motivate our heart. To the contemporary of Jesus, the heart was the seat of the will. So He is saying that what I treasure motivate, directs and moves me into action. On a personal level this is easy for me to understand. I love my being married to my wife, Lori. In December, I officiated in the wedding of my oldest son. In May, I performed the wedding of my daughter. Because I love being married, I enjoyed officiating at my son’s and daughter’s weddings. I treasure marriage so my heart is there also. But what if my marriage was a daily torture? I wouldn’t be the evangelist I am for Christian marriage, would I?

The same is true for sharing our faith. One man told Bill Hybels that he never shares his faith with anyone. When asked why, he shocked Bill by saying, “I would never want to inflict the burden of God on anyone” (Just Walk Across the Room, 27). Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is” (NASB). It is safe to assume that God is not this man’s treasure. God has become a burden. What about you, friend? Is that the God you know? At least this man was honest and open. Are you?

Be open with the Lord and honest with him today. Do you share your faith now? If the answer within yourself it “no” stop fooling yourself. It is not because of changing cultural trends, “relevancy” the lack of evangelistic programs or your profound theology. The reason lies within where you keep your treasure.  Are you in love with the God you know? If the answer is “no” or “maybe” there is good news–breakfast with Jesus (John 21:12). He never fails to captivate with His love, grace, mercy and hope. When you personally experience the grace, mercy, compassion and hope of Christ in a real and personal way, it is natural to share with pre-Christians. Go now, your One True Treasure awaits!

By Scott Willingham

Guest posts this week

June 8, 2009

Starting today, this space will mix in a series of posts from Scott Willingham, BGCT local church evangelism specialist, on evangelism. I’ll post the first one in just a bit. Judging by it, the posts should be wonderful. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

One Church, Two Languages

May 5, 2009

For many years, Southwayside Baptist Church in Fort Worth sought to reach the growing Hispanic community around them, but without any success. Mission after mission, attempts to plant a Hispanic church in their neighborhood failed. Meanwhile, the congregation’s membership continued to dwindle as members moved to other neighborhoods, became homebound or went to be with the Lord.

In 2000, under the leadership of its Senior Pastor, Dr. Alvin Southerland, the congregation began to study their options for the future as they sought to continue reaching out to their community in spite of the cultural and language barriers that existed. The only options at that point were to start another Hispanic mission or to share the church’s facilities with a growing Hispanic congregation. After much consideration, sharing facilities became the best option.

In 2002, Southwayside leadership began conversations with a growing Hispanic church in the south side of Fort Worth and invited them to consider sharing facilities with them. The plan was that as Southwayside decreased in membership and presence, the Hispanic congregation would continue to grow, own the property and carry on with the ministry. But when the time came for the Hispanic church to vote, they didn’t have the majority required to make the move. 

This came as a major blow to the people at Southwayside, but also to some families from the Hispanic congregation that had come to love the Southwayside family, had grasped their vision and had come to love the Hispanic community around them as their own.  As a result, in August 2003, several families, couples and young adults from the Hispanic church came and joined Southwayside as members, following God’s call upon their lives. 

Wow!  Southwayside had plans, but God had slightly different ones.  It wasn’t a mission. It wasn’t a department. It wasn’t another church. It was Southwayside, but with the ability to minister in two languages!  Southwayside Baptist Church now looked like the community it longed to reach! Soon, a Spanish worship service and a Spanish Sunday School were started.  English classes began to be offered at no cost to people in the community.  Children and youth ministries began to grow.  Community outreach events and Vacation Bible School now had a greater impact than before.

Shortly after the new members arrived, in the fall of 2003, Southwayside began to strategically place Hispanic members in key church committees. Many were asked to serve as leaders in different ministries and as children and youth teachers. When the time came for the church to elect new deacons, Hispanics came to serve as part of the deacon body. The commitment to reach the community for Christ grew even more.

After several months of holding Spanish worship services in the church fellowship hall, and realizing that this was hindering the service’s growth, the church decided to move the traditional English service in the sanctuary to 9 a.m. and moved the Spanish service to the sanctuary at the 11 a.m. time. This was an unprecedented decision that made an immediate impact in the church’s ministry to Spanish speakers. But an even more unprecedented decision would come five years later when the church elected a Hispanic as its Senior Pastor.

In December 2008, Dr. Alvin Southerland, Southwayside’s Senior Pastor for nearly a decade, was called to pastor Sandy Plains Baptist Church in Georgia. After three and a half months of prayer and consideration by the deacons and the congregation, on April 19, 2009, Southwayside Baptist Church called Rev. Rubén Martínez as its Senior Pastor, a critical step in the congregation’s vision to become a church that effectively reaches the community around it. What a great milestone to celebrate!

Many churches in our state are where Southwayside Baptist Church was almost 6 years ago. I am not saying that this needs to be the experience of every church. But I wonder, what would happen if more of our congregations saw ministry to Hispanics/Spanish speakers in a whole different way?