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Evangelists to focus on 21st-century ministry

PHOENIX (BP) — Equipping evangelists to minister in the 21st century will be the focus when the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists gathers in Phoenix in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting.

An evangelists’ retreat and business meeting June 9-10 at the Arizona Biltmore will be followed by a Sunday worship service hosted by Southern Baptist evangelists June 11 at First Southern Baptist Church in Phoenix. A “Southwest Supper Sing-A-Long” June 12 will give pastors an opportunity to connect with evangelists.

The emphasis on evangelists’ work in the 21st century will include discussion of mentoring a new generation of evangelists and using technology to facilitate Gospel witness.

“One of the things we’re really going to focus on and pray about is how to involve more young guys who are evangelists,” Southern Baptist Evangelists president David Stockwell said. “What can we do to identify them, equip them and encourage them?”

One way to mentor aspiring evangelists, Stockwell said, is for men and women with years of experience to take younger evangelists with them on ministry trips and conduct joint evangelistic ventures.

Southern Baptist Evangelists vice president Sammy Tippit will help lead the discussion of technology in evangelism. Over the past two years, Tippit has seen hundreds profess faith in Christ in India through evangelistic sermons preached via Skype. He also has launched an interactive, multilingual discipleship app that helps believers lead friends to deeper walks with Christ — even if those friends live on the other side of the globe.

Stockwell said Southern Baptist Evangelists have developed a new app as well that helps churches and pastors locate and communicate with evangelists. An online directory of Southern Baptist Evangelists can be accessed at www.sbcevangelist.org.

The evangelists’ Sunday-morning worship service at First Southern Baptist, which houses multiple ethnic congregations in its facility, will begin at 9 a.m. Speakers will include Stockwell and Tippit along with music evangelists Russell and Kristi Johnson, Bob Smith and Amy Stockwell.

The June 12 “Sing-A-Long” will run from 4:30-6 p.m. in Room 129A/B of the Phoenix Convention Center, site of the Pastors’ Conference and SBC annual meeting, and feature a light southwest-themed meal along with music by Southern Baptist music evangelists. The event is free and open to all attendees of the Pastors’ Conference and SBC annual meeting.

An evangelists booth in the SBC exhibit hall will help Southern Baptists understand the work of evangelists internationally and in North America and allow convention attendees to meet Southern Baptist evangelists.

The entire slate of activities, Stockwell said, will be geared toward helping “evangelists engage the 21st-century culture.”