J.D. Greear, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, is challenging us to pray for and witness to one person in 2019 in an effort to win that person to Jesus. Juan Sanchez, president of the SBTC, is challenging our state convention to prioritize evangelism. The SBTC’s emphasis will culminate at the Oct. 28-29 Annual Meeting in Odessa. Shane Pruitt, SBTC Evangelism Director, is leading us to participate. The North American Mission Board is making “Who’s Your One?” a national focus.
We have a plethora of options when it comes to evangelism training. The SBTC staff has many practical tools we will gladly share with your congregation, and I would encourage you to plan an evangelism workshop in your church. While I endorse the use of methods, there is something missing that information cannot fill. It has been my contention for some time that it is not a lack of programs, but a lack of passion, that keeps us from sharing Jesus with others.
I confess I have to work at being a witness. For some time, the approach has been for us to share Christ out of the overflow of our lives. We will get so full of Jesus that some of him will spill out when we interact with others. This is not always the case with me. I love Jesus, but opportunities arise where I could speak the gospel and I clam up. It just doesn’t come out. For me, having a regular time to go holds me accountable.
When I was a pastor, I pulled rank and got all the hot prospects when we went on church visitation. I would go into homes of people who had been to our church. It was easier for me to present the good news to folks with whom I had a connection. Don’t get me wrong—I witness to Uber drivers, waiters and service people—but it is not the same. Having a set time to share the gospel is not legalism, it is obedience.
Being a witness and seeking to “win” someone to Christ is not the same. We can hand out a tract as a witness. We can pray the gospel in a hospital room as a witness. We can speak the name of Jesus to those we come in contact with, thereby being a witness. A true gospel conversation culminates in asking the person if they would like to receive Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. This is different from being a witness. I do a fairly good job of being a witness; I have to work at be a soul-winner.
The SBTC Empower Conference is Feb. 25-26. Speakers will remind us of how great the Great Commission really is, and we will have numerous breakouts designed to equip you in methods for gospel presentation. Soon, a devotional produced by the SBTC Evangelism ministry will be released which will seek to inspire us to have passion for Jesus and the lost sheep. All of these things are helpful, but ultimately we must decide we are going across the street or across the room to plead with someone to accept Jesus as their Savior.
I have my “one” in mind. Others are on my heart. It is just a matter of me getting out of my seat, going in the street and giving the the gospel with a plea to respond. So, who’s your one?