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6/27/97 Evangelism leader outlines ‘Total Church Life’ strategy

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–Total church life stands incomplete without a pervasive passion for personal evangelism in the pulpit and in the pews, said Darrell Robinson.
Addressing more than 100 students and area ministers on the campus of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary June 26, Robinson led a “Total Church Life” seminar on the Wake Forest, N.C., campus as part of Southeastern’s continuing education program aimed at assisting ministers in the field.
Robinson, author of the book with the same title, is special assistant in evangelism for Southern Baptists’ North American Mission Board and former vice president for evangelism of the former Home Mission Board.
“My vision for Southern Baptist outreach is for every local church to be a Spirit-filled, revived church, filled with the Christ life, and on mission for Jesus to develop a passion and a burden to reach every lost person for Christ, and engage in the process of doing it,” said Robinson, who had pastored at Dauphin Way Baptist Church, Mobile, Ala., before joining the staff of the HMB in 1989.
Total Church Life is a strategy, not a program, Robinson said.
“A program is a project or an activity that has a beginning time and an ending time … designed to accomplish a certain purpose,” he said. “A strategy is an ongoing direction of ministry for the life of the church. It builds a mind-set. It helps the church (visualize) reaching people.”
Built upon a three-pronged approach, the Total Church Life strategy calls the church to exalt the Savior, equip the saints and evangelize the sinner.
Believers must begin by exalting the God of their salvation, Robinson said, “and to lift him up in praise and worship so that the corporate worship is dynamic and powerful.”
Christianity is a lay religion, Robinson said, and therefore every part of the body of Christ must be taught and trained for ministry. Only when the body is equipped for ministry can the church grow in a healthy manner, he said.
According to Robinson, the church must “come to grips with the fact that God intends for every believer to be a witness; if we’re not witnessing, we’re living in disobedience.”
Robinson states in his book, published under the Baptist Sunday School Board’s Broadman & Holman imprint, the Total Church Life Strategy is “to help a church permeate the total church life with evangelism.”
“The unique characteristics of Dr. Robinson’s materials come out of the laboratory of his own experiences in churches, where he has had successful ministries,” commented Milton Hollifield, director of evangelism for the Baptism State Convention of North Carolina. “Concepts that he reports in his books and materials have been tried and tested and have been proved to be effective.”
Phil Henry, pastor of evangelism and new member assimilation at Calvary Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, N.C., was one of the conference attendees. “Evangelism and church growth starts in the hearts of people, and not on paper,” Henry said. “It starts by talking about evangelism happening out of the abundant Christian life.”

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  • Douglas C. Estes