Why keep evangelism a priority?

Empower 2021 is upon us. The conference is full of uplifting worship music, powerful preaching and breakouts for training and fellowship. 

On Feb. 22 and 23 our true purpose for gathering at the Irving Convention Center is to seek a spiritual awakening that only God can bring. Please check out the schedule at
sbtexas.com/empower and register.

Why are we keeping evangelism in the forefront? Why spend so much time, energy and money on a conference? Because everything we do in the way of cooperative work revolves around evangelism. To be clear, evangelism is the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ found in 1 Corinthians 15: 3,4. 

Southern Baptists of Texas Convention church planting experienced an uptick in new church starts from 2019 to 2020. This is nothing short of a miracle. Church planters have a passion to reach those without Jesus as their Savior. The foundational element of a new church must be evangelism. Telling people about Jesus is the reason to start a new church. When the apostle Paul went into a new city, he preached the gospel. Those who believed were baptized. A new church was formed. This is New Testament church planting. 

Church health is a major concern. One of the ways your SBTC staff seeks to help churches is through revitalization. Plateaued and declining churches have varying symptoms but one remedy. Evangelism is the answer to an ailing church. Every church must contextualize its ministry. Finding how to reach the community with the gospel will fill the building, pay the bills and encourage the saints. Some churches must transition to a new type of church, but it still means a desire to reach the community for Jesus must be the primary factor. 

Tools are available to help the existing church. An entire support system is ready for those who want to plant new churches. It comes back to the purpose of the Empower Conference. I pastored for 20 years, served as a director of missions, and now seek to serve the churches through the state convention. Two challenges have continually remained a challenge for me as a leader—prayer and evangelism. 

I pray for lost people daily. I ask the Holy Spirit to convict and convert those on my heart. I must intentionally set aside a time to share the gospel with them. Acts 6:4 describes a minimal job assignment for pastors and other leaders. We are to devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word. Preaching is important. The pulpit cannot be the only evangelistic outreach. Paul told Timothy that the pastor was to do the work of an evangelist. We must lead by example.

Empower 2021 is simply a time to recharge your batteries. Let’s get a heart for souls. We want others to experience what happened to us. Evangelism will flow out of the power of prayer. Pray specifically for someone who needs Jesus. Plan to share the gospel with that person.  

Executive Director Emeritus
Jim Richards
Southern Baptists of Texas Convention
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