SBTC begins regional emPOWER rallies

The first two of six regional emPOWER Rallies hosted by the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention were held Jan. 11 at Parkhills Baptist Church in San Antonio and Jan. 18 at Gardendale Baptist Church in Corpus Christi. The two rallies combined drew more than 1,400 participants, including 1,000 in Corpus, and included simultaneous events for children, youth, and adults.

During the Jan. 11 rally, a combined choir and orchestra of more than 100 people led the congregation in music before evangelist Bill Tisdale preached on “Motivations for an Effective Evangelistic Ministry” from 2 Corinthians 5:6-17. Tisdale said the words minister and ministry do not apply only to those who are ordained to ministry as a vocation, but to all believers.

The children’s rally, which was led by Parkhills Miniter to Children, Rhonda Black, included a game requiring teams to guide blindfolded teammates between two points on a floor map. Black explained that the Bible is one’s road map to heaven and that the Bible teaches Jesus is the only road to heaven.

The youth event opened with high-energy praise led by the Christian band Rhythm and was followed by youth speaker Pat Cammarata. Tom Cottar, SBTC director of student evangelism, said three students made salvation decisions. “This being the first time we have done this regional rally in San Antonio, we didn’t really know what to expect,” Cottar said, “but it went well.”

Perhaps the high note during the first two rallies was the Jan. 18 presentation of the W.A Criswell Lifetime Achievement Award for Pastoral Evangelism. The award, presented posthumously to Bob Meadows, longtime pastor of Gardendale Baptist Church, was originally scheduled to be presented to Meadows at the state emPOWER Conference in February. Meadows died in December. At Gardendale, he baptized 3,230 of the 4,000 converts he won to Christ during his ministry. Meadows’ son, Roy, the pastor at Westland Baptist Church in Katy, accepted the award on behalf of the family.

“If my dad were here tonight, he would ask each one of you to win at least one person to Jesus this year. He had souls on his heart.”

Previous recipients were W.A. Criswell, Ralph Smith, John Bisagno, E.L. Pennington and Ronnie Yarber.

The Corpus Christi rally drew about 1,000 people from at least seven churches. Both rallies registered professions of faith (exact numbers were unavailable at press time).

A third was scheduled Jan. 25 at Port Arthur’s Ridgewood Baptist Church. Future regional rallies include Feb. 22 at Lifeway Fellowship Baptist Church in Odessa and Feb. 29 at Exciting Immanuel Baptist Church in El Paso.

The statewide emPOWER Conference is Feb. 9-10 at Arlington Convention Center (see story, Page 5).

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