Evangelism Conf. aims at Great Commission impact

ARLINGTON?The 2010 Empower Evangelism Conference Feb. 15-17 drew healthy crowds each day to hear preaching from pastors and evangelists like Ted Traylor of Florida and Roy Fish, the dean of evangelism professors.

The several thousand who came also heard acclaimed vocalists such as David Phelps, Charles Billingsley and Allison Durham Speer.

“The Empower Evangelism Conference exists to assist the churches to do an effective job in evangelism,” said Don Cass, SBTC director of evangelism.

“I thank God for the conference this year,” Cass said. “We had great preaching, singing, testimonies. I think it all was strong and I praise the Lord for the churches that were represented. I ask them to go back and speak about it in their churches and with their friends so that we’ll have more churches represented every year and larger crowds each year, and God would use that to help us do the Great Commission.”


During the conference, Cass presented two lifetime achievement awards.

Longtime Texas pastor and retired LifeWay president James T. Draper Jr. was honored with the W.A. Criswell Lifetime Achievement Award for Pastoral Evangelism.

Draper began preaching revivals in high school with a friend named Charles Swindoll, Cass noted.

Everywhere he served, from a small mission church in Kansas City to First Baptist Church of Euless, the churches he led evangelized and baptized many people, from hundreds in Kansas City to nearly 5,000 in his 15 years at Euless.

Draper said among the lessons learned from years of ministry, the most important is to remember the primary calling to “preach the Word.”

“God never promised to honor your creativity, but he promised to honor his Word.”

Cass presented the Roy Fish Lifetime Achievement Award for Vocational Evangelism to Jim Bob and Louverl Griffin. The Griffins served churches in Oklahoma and Texas, serving alongside each other in 53 years of marriage.

“All I could do is weep because I felt so unworthy and still feel unworthy and there are so many evangelists out here who are more worthy than we are,” Jim Bob Griffin remarked about hearing he would be honored at the conference.


Roy Fish, emeritus professor of evangelism at Southwestern Seminary, preached from Romans 1:14-15, noting that Paul’s confession that he was eager to preach the gospel to those in Rome was translated into English from two Greek words that mean “fire” and “good news.”

Fish said evangelism is born from an inward fire to share the good news. And Paul’s fire to preach the gospel, Fish said, was driven by at least five things identified in the New Testament:

?The call from above;

?The crowd of sinners around him;

?The crown of rewards before him;

?The catastrophe below

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