GREENSBORO, N.C.?Addressing Southern Baptists for the last time as convention president, Bobby Welch, croaking frog in hand, called on Southern Baptists to regain confidence in the gospel’s power to save souls and to set high the bar because “Christ wants more.”
Preaching from John 6 about the feeding of the 5,000, Welch focused much of his message on the “lad” who offered his five loaves and two fish as an answer to the multitude’s need.
In a sermon that also touched on the importance of the SBC’s Cooperative Program missions funding channel, Welch told messengers that if it dies it would take three generations before anything like it could emerge. Regardless of the cost, “We have to do more going, and we have to do more giving.”
Noting the five loaves and two fish offered by the boy in John 6, Welch emphasized that the boy saw himself as an answer to the need, and Christ “wants more because he sees more in the crowd.”
“[A]nd there’s still more coming,” Welch said. Southern Baptists must recognize where God is calling for more and must meet the need,” he said. “Christ wants more. Christ wants more because he sees more.”
Southern Baptists must do more than just invite people to churches or conferences and give people Christian books. Such methods are fine, but, “We must rediscover our confidence in the power of God’s gospel” to change people anytime, any place, Welch said.
Citing Paul’s profession in Romans 1:16 that he is not ashamed of the gospel, Welch told the messengers, “No wonder, listen to what it will do for you.”?it is the power of God to salvation for all believers, Welch explained.
“You don’t have to just invite them [to church],” Welch said. “You can win them on the spot.” A verbal witness is critical “because they might die before they get to the kool-aid stand or finish the book,” Welch said.
Calling on messengers to pray for the North American Mission Board’s search committee, Welch said the mission board “is in a position to identify and articulate what Southern Baptists believe about their theology of evangelism” and how to apply it. If Southern Baptists lose their commitment to evangelize, many souls will perish, Welch charged.
He was reminded of the power of CP giving, he said, while watching Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers after last year’s hurricanes. “I thought, ‘hallelujah’ ? That was us on that truck ? because we were there through the Cooperative Program giving.”
He also related the story of talking to an International Mission Board regional leader who lamented the millions who would not hear the gospel this year because the need exceeds missionaries and funding.
Welch said, “Whatever it takes in our going and our giving, we must do it. Whatever it takes.
“With the Cooperative Program everyone can, because your dollars work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year” across the world.
Welch said of the many discussions messengers had at the annual meeting about CP giving, everyone said SBC churches ought to give more, not less.
“The Lord has to get more from the Christian before he can get more for the crowd,” Welch explained.
In John 6, “Christ is calling for a lot” and the disciples are emphasizing what little they have?a danger of churches who undervalue their significance by thinking they are in a small town in a small church with small pews, a small Bible and small print.
“[A]nd all the whil