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Amsterdam conference to feature seminars conducted by Baptists

MINNEAPOLIS (BP)–A number of denominational leaders, pastors and professors from the Southern Baptist Convention will be participating in “Amsterdam 2000,” the upcoming, worldwide gathering of evangelists in The Netherlands.

Scheduled for July 29-Aug. 6 at the RAI Centre in Amsterdam, the meeting represents a symbolic passing of the torch from organizer Billy Graham to the thousands who will be attending. This will be the first meeting in Amsterdam since the renowned evangelist led a conference there in 1986.

International Mission Board President Jerry Rankin and North American Mission Board President Bob Reccord are two of nearly a dozen SBC figures presenting 75-minute seminars at the conference. Between 40 and 45 will be presented each day, with the 10 most popular repeated on the final day.

Rankin and Reccord will also be among 300 denominational leaders who will form one of three major task forces at the event. Each task force — the other two concern evangelistic strategy and theology — will issue position papers at the end of the conference.

Bill Conard, program director for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, has met or corresponded with the two SBC leaders. He credits a letter Rankin sent BGEA 18 months ago emphasizing church planting as a viable means of evangelism with helping shape some of the workshops.

“I have very high regard for their involvement and the vast experience that they have through the strength of the Southern Baptist outreach,” he said, “both in this country and overseas.”

Reccord also put him in touch with David Clark, vice president of NAMB’s Broadcast Center in Fort Worth, Tex., to arrange a five-part workshop on creating evangelistic videos.

Conard said the workshop on videos could be one of the most effective ways to reach nations and people groups who to date have only been able to view translated materials. Offering videos in their native tongue can greatly influence viewers, he said.

“We may have a limited window technologically,” he said. “But for the next five years this could be one of the most effective ways of getting the gospel out in an area where they’ve had nothing before.”

In addition to Clark’s, the workshops being led by SBC figures from the United States include:

— Rankin will address effective church-planting methods in “Evangelism and Church Planting.” The seminar will look at ways of starting new churches that include new converts.

— “Ways to Stimulate Evangelism in Denominations” will be led by Reccord and John Yarbrough, NAMB’s vice president of evangelization. The pair will discuss instilling in a church or group of churches a desire to see the lost come to Christ.

— Yarbrough will join Richard Harris, vice president of church planting for the agency, to present “Using Evangelism Methodologies to Plant Churches.”

— Timothy Beougher, professor of evangelism at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., will address “Lessons from Evangelists of the Past.” The workshop will review the history of evangelism and what past events and evangelists can teach today’s church.

— “Evangelism and Revival” will be taught by Lewis Drummond, a professor at Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School.

— Anne Graham Lotz will discuss “The Evangelist and Listening to God’s Voice.” Graham’s daughter will review tools that will enable participants to read God’s Word so they can hear God speaking through it.

— Elmer Towns, dean of the School of Religion at Liberty University, will discuss “Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough.” Author of various materials on the subject, the Lynchburg, Va., academician will discuss fasting as a practical tool for ministry.

— “Helping Build Purpose-Driven Churches” is the topic of Rick Warren’s workshop. The senior pastor of Saddleback Valley Community Church in Lake Forest, Calif., his “Purpose Driven Church” has been a best-seller on Christian book lists.

— Contemporary Christian singer and evangelist Al Denson will discuss “Reaching Young People With Music,” providing tips on sharing Christ in a meaningful way through music. Denson grew up in Sagemont Church (SBC) in Houston.

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  • Ken Walker