FORT WORTH The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention’s annual Roundup collegiate ministry event kicked off Wednesday night, May 12, with worship and a message from North Carolina pastor and Southern Baptist Convention president J.D. Greear.
Speaking at Common Grounds, part of Christ Chapel Bible Church in Fort Worth, Greear challenged college students to lay down their “yes” and be willing to go wherever the Lord calls them.
Roundup, which has been held for the last decade, drew over 250 college students and ministry leaders from eight states this year. Mitch Tidwell, SBTC collegiate ministry associate, called the event unique in that in targets college ministry done in the local church rather than through parachurch organizations.
“The biggest thing here is that this is an event for local churches,” Tidwell told the TEXAN. “In almost every other area of ministry in the building, that’s a no-brainer, but in the college world and in Southern Baptist life, it is one of the only events specifically designed for church-based college ministry. I just love that we’re investing in that and have decided to put resources behind that.
“This is the conference that the church-based leader comes to and they are the primary target audience. And I think that’s what makes Roundup what it is.”
Encouraging kingdom growth
Greear’s message to open the event focused on “the most strategic mission field,” as he challenged college students to not miss the opportunities God has presented them for kingdom impact.
He shared the vision of The Summit Church, which 12 years ago set a goal to plant 1,000 churches. According to Greear, 468 churches have been planted in that time by over 1,400 Summit members—mostly college students—who have been mobilized.
Greear described Summit’s practice of meeting with college seniors active at the church.
“We meet with our seniors and say, ‘God loves you. We’ve got a wonderful plan for your life. Will you put your yes on the table and let God put it on the map?’” he said. “We say to all of them that unless they’ve heard from God audibly or turn 30 years old, whichever comes first, they need to plan on spending at least the first two years after they graduate on one of these church plants.”
Greear next discussed the rapid spread of the gospel after the resurrection of Jesus, citing statistics from sociologist Rodney Stark that there were likely only about 7,500 Christians at the end of the first century.
With only 7,500 believers with “no money, no political influence,” whose very faith was illegal, Christianity spread to over “half the Roman empire” so much that the emperor converted 200 years later, Greear noted. He cited Stark’s explanation that the early church “had a sense that the Great Commission belonged to every single believer, that every Christian was responsible to multiply, every church was responsible to multiply.
“The DNA of multiplication was in every single believer, so that they all understood that it was their responsibility to go make disciples.”
Greear suggested we may be seeing the end of the megachurch era, that the movement “hasn’t really quite worked” because of a lack of emphasis on multiplication: “the one thing that actually would multiply the church forward in every single generation.”
Noting there are more Southern Baptist churches in America than there are Starbucks, McDonald’s and Subways combined, Greear asked, regarding the spread of the gospel: “What if just a third of those churches understood it was their responsibility to multiply? And what if each of them said we’re going to have one church that we plant this year?”
He challenged college students who are “coming online” at a strategic point in church history, as the COVID-19 pandemic draws to a close, to see ways in which the past year opened doors for the gospel.
Calling all Christians
“You’re alive in a moment when God is doing something,” Greear urged, enumerating five “mind shifts” necessary for the church to embrace a culture of multiplication:
- The greatness of the church occurs only through individual members filled with the Spirit.
- Unchurched and de-churched people can only be reached by disciple-making disciples.
- Every believer is called.
- God multiplies the ministry only as we give it away.
- Risk is right for the Great Commission.
Calling is for every Christian, Greear said, not just a mystical, sacred moment for a few.
“The biblical truth in Matthew 4:19, the calling to leverage your life for the Great Commission is included in the call to follow Jesus,” he said. “The question is no longer if you are called; the question now is simply where and how.”
He challenged the college students to intertwine their commitment to the gospel with their other gifts and passions, leveraging all their talents for kingdom impact.
The rest of Roundup was held at First Baptist Colleyville, May 13-14, and featured Drew Worsham and Dusty Thompson addressing the general sessions. Breakouts and panels led by more than two dozen experts along tracks for student leaders and pastor and college ministers allowed participants to choose among more than 20 topics, from leadership development to counseling to conflict resolution to discipleship to communications to evangelism.
Next year’s Roundup is scheduled for May 11-13, 2022, its location to be determined, Tidwell said.