Effective evangelism requires leadership

This has been a busy summer. Both of our daughters had a baby. The babies were born four days apart last month. “Nana” was on the move from one baby to another and “Popa” wasn’t far behind. Nathan and I did make it to the Southern Baptist Convention. It was special for me to serve out my term as first vice-president. This is Nathan’s last full summer at home. We are making football camps on a regular basis. He received a scholarship offer from one school and several others have expressed an interest in him. God has provided for us in a tremendous way. We praise him for healthy babies, a paid college education and the opportunity to serve the Lord.

Perhaps one of the busiest items for me this summer is my preaching schedule. It is a thrill to be invited to preach in SBTC churches and outside of Texas too. I enjoyed a revival meeting with my longtime friend Mike Smith, who pastors the Valley Baptist Church in Sedro Woolly, Wash. God allowed us to see a couple of people make commitments to Christ during the week. The Northwest is a difficult area but Mike has been faithful. He has served in Washington state for over 10 years. Mike is an inspiration to me as he sacrificially serves the Lord Jesus in a true mission field.

Mike is like so many of my friends who lead by example. I could name dozens who never get mentioned in the denominational press or at convention meetings. They simply do what God has called them to do. These pastors are willing to serve for little pay, often in obscurity, to reach people for Christ who would not otherwise have the opportunity to be saved.

These heroes of the faith set the standard. However, I am convinced that the greatest need in the Southern Baptist Convention is passionate, convictional leadership. For almost a generation our culture has held tolerance as the highest value. When a preacher forcefully and lovingly presents truth, he runs contrary to acceptable behavior. The norm is for mild-mannered men to mildly exhort mild-mannered people to be more mild-mannered. I pray that God will give us Elijahs who will stand up to the prophets of political correctness.

Leadership must be exercised in the area of soul-winning. The apostle Paul told Timothy that a pastor was to do the work of an evangelist. Obviously, training people to be a witness is important. However, pastors must show the way by personally witnessing to the lost. Thousands of Southern Baptist churches reported no baptisms last year. Personal soul-winning by church leadership would immediately begin a reversal in the decline in baptisms.

I have another revival to preach this summer. Almost every Sunday I am privileged to be in God’s pulpit. It is a busy time, but a blessed time. It is special because I will be with godly pastors who love Jesus and want to see people saved. May God increase their number.

In keeping with my challenge to church leadership to share the gospel, I am asking your Southern Baptists of Texas Convention ministry staff to share the gospel with at least one lost person per month. After evangelistic training we will begin an accountability report time in our chapel. We can’t make people get saved but we can present Christ to those who are without him. Pray that God will use our witness to lead some to know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

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