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16 meetings to build awareness of FAITH baptismal initiative


NASHVILLE,. Tenn. (BP)–Sixteen awareness meetings have been
scheduled across the United States to introduce FAITH, a strategy
designed to stimulate an upturn in baptisms in the Southern Baptist
Convention during the next five years.
The training sessions and resources are designed to stimulate
incremental increases in baptisms in SBC churches during the next five
years, from 400,000 in 1997-98 to 1 million by 2001-2002.
FAITH, a cooperative evangelistic venture of the Sunday School
Board and the North American Mission Board, ties ongoing, personal
evangelism training to a church’s Sunday school organization. Workers
agree to attend 16 training sessions and practice what they learn in
home visits. The strategy also includes weekly meetings for Sunday
school teachers and group leaders, intentional discipleship and plans
for assimilating new Christians into the life of the church.
The new initiative, modeled after a program at First Baptist
Church, Daytona Beach, Fla., was developed by the Sunday School Board’s
Bible teaching-reaching division. The awareness meetings are being
coordinated by the board’s pastor-staff leadership department and hosted
by pastors and churches in each location. While pre-registration is not
necessary for awareness meetings, participants are encouraged to
reconfirm the date and time with the local host organization.
The free sessions to introduce FAITH are scheduled for Feb. 23 at
2 p.m. at First Baptist Church, Millington, Tenn.; Feb. 24 at 10 a.m. at
Rehoboth Baptist Church, Tucker, Ga.; Feb. 25 at 10 a.m. at Olive
Baptist Church, Pensacola, Fla.; March 9 at 1 p.m. at Metropolitan
Baptist Church, Houston; March 10 at 10 a.m. at Central Baptist Church,
Aurora, Colo.; March 11 at 10 a.m. at Panama Baptist Church,
Bakersfield, Calif.; March 12 at 10 a.m. at Orange County Association,
Brea, Calif.; March 13 at the Northwest Baptist Convention office in
Vancouver, Wash.; March 19 at 1 p.m. at Plymouth Park Baptist Church,
Irving, Texas; March 20 at 10 a.m. at Broadmoor Baptist Church,
Shreveport, La.; March 27 at 10 a.m. at Tabernacle Baptist Church,
Decatur, Ill.; April 13 at 1 p.m. at Spotswood Baptist Church,
Fredericksburg, Va.; April 14 at 1 p.m. at Hickory Grove Baptist Church,
Charlotte, N.C.; April 23 at 1 p.m. at Highview Baptist Church,
Louisville, Ky.; May 28 at 1 p.m. at First Baptist Church, Trussville,
Ala.; and May 29 at 10 a.m. at First Baptist Church, Daytona Beach.
“We believe that FAITH is the process which will help unite
church, laypeople and lay leaders to enthusiastically minister within
the church family and to confidently seek to evangelize the community,”
said Don Mathis, director of the pastor-staff leadership department.
A variety of resources for the FAITH strategy are being released
by the Sunday School Board through the FAITH clinics this fall,
including: “A Journey in FAITH: Journal,” used by participants during
their training; “A Step of Faith,” a tract built around the FAITH
acronym (Forgiveness, Available, Impossible, Turn and Heaven); and “A
Journey in Faith: Training Packet for Sunday School Evangelism
Ministry,” a resource containing everything needed to start the FAITH
strategy. “Evangelism Through the Sunday School: A Journey of FAITH,” a
new book written by Bobby Welch, pastor of First Baptist Church, Daytona
Beach, Fla., may be obtained at the awareness meetings.
Last year, Sunday School Board editors and consultants spent
several months working with leaders from the Florida church to
“fine-tune” their process and develop resources for use in churches
across the SBC. Next, 28 “originator churches” were enlisted to attend
the first FAITH training conference which will be held Jan. 19-23 at
FBC, Daytona Beach. Leaders from the participating churches have
promised to host FAITH training conferences in their churches during the
next two years.
In addition, FAITH training events are tentatively planned in 15
states this year: Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois,
Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma,
Pennsylvania/South Jersey, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
For additional information on awareness meetings, contact the
pastor-staff leadership department at the Sunday School Board, (615)
251-2055.