EDITOR’S NOTE: Ronnie Floyd, president of the Southern Baptist Convention and senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, urges Baptists to participate Oct. 15 in the Engage24 day of one-on-one Gospel conversations. Additionally in the Southern Baptist Convention, Personal Evangelism Commitment Day is Oct. 4.
SPRINGDALE, Ark. (BP) — According to research by the Barna Group, only 52 percent of evangelicals shared their faith with someone in the past year. In a recent LifeWay Research study, 48 percent said that spiritual matters do not tend to come up in their everyday conversations.
It’s not a lack of conviction. Overwhelmingly, Christians believe they should be sharing their faith.
It’s not a lack of understanding. If we’ve trusted Christ, it should be easy enough to tell someone else what we’ve done.
Perhaps it’s just a lack of intentionality. Perhaps it’s just a lack of focus.
Just think what could happen if 16 million Southern Baptists awakened on Oct. 15 and prayed that the Holy Spirit would provide an encounter with someone who doesn’t know Christ. Then, we hit the streets, the classroom, the marketplace, the campus, the office or wherever God has placed us to live on mission with the intention of having at least one Gospel conversation. It could be the beginning of something big.
The great 19th-century evangelist D.L. Moody made a commitment to God that he would never let 24 hours pass that he didn’t tell someone of the Savior. It is said that he saw more than a million souls come to Christ during his ministry. That’s one man telling someone every day about Jesus.
What if millions of us took one day and had a Gospel conversation with one person?
Collegiate students are asking churches to join with them
Over the last three years, Southern Baptist collegiate ministries nationwide have set aside a day to call every one of their students to share the Gospel with someone in their sphere of influence.
They’ve seen thousands of students share the Gospel for the first time as a part of the challenge, and now collegiate leaders are inviting churches to participate as well. Will you participate in what they call Engage24 on Thursday, Oct. 15?
As we look back at history, we know that God often sparks awakening fires among college students. In the 1800s, from the Cambridge Seven and their influencing the world to engage China with the Gospel to the birth of the Student Volunteer Movement ignited by the 250 students gathering at Mount Hermon, Mass., there is no doubt that when students are committed and focused to a vision for Gospel expansion, magnificent things happen.
Here’s an example from Drew Landry, senior pastor at Spotswood Baptist Church in Fredericksburg, Va.: “At Spotswood we are not trying to simply champion people participating in evangelism for a moment. By God’s grace, we are trying to develop a culture of evangelism that produces a movement amongst our members. We believe that participating in Engage helps us to accomplish that purpose. One of the most surprising effects of participating in Engage is that many of our members have become more missionally minded throughout the year, especially around times when people are more spiritually open, such as Christmas and Easter. For example, this past Easter, Spotswood members identified, prayed for and attempted to engage over 600 of their neighbors. We believe these actions at Easter are directly related to the fall focus we had on evangelism during Engage24. Results like this are how we recognize the difference between a moment and a movement.”
Imagine what God would do if our churches did this
Just imagine what it would be like if several thousand of our churches determined they would lead the way in participating in sharing the Gospel on Oct. 15. Imagine what it would look like if our churches across Southern Baptist life would learn how to articulate the Gospel clearly and with passion, then with intentionality, share the Gospel regularly.
Yes, every day we should be sharing the Gospel, but perhaps if a specific day was targeted, like Oct. 15, it could become a beginning point for many of us. Again, imagine what it would look like to see every Southern Baptist sharing the Gospel with just one person during Engage24 on 10.15.15.
Pastor and laypeople, will you share the Gospel on Oct. 15? This coming Sunday, challenge your people to target 10.15.15 on their calendar and join our collegiate leaders in doing so on their respective campuses. Perhaps your church can plan some specific evangelistic ministries for that day, all leading to the Gospel being presented and opportunities given for people to respond to this powerful message.
The North American Mission Board has set up a website with some practical tips on promoting Engage24 in your church. Check it out at namb.net/Engage24.
Lead your people to pray as they go. Lead your people to sow as they go. Let’s go together. Let’s target Thursday, Oct. 15, as a day to share the life-changing Gospel message with others. God always blesses His Word.