GREENSBORO, N.C. (BP)–Are Southern Baptists known for fried chicken and covered dishes at potlucks or for winning souls? asked Brian Fossett, one of the featured evangelists at a Sunday morning worship sponsored by the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists in Greensboro, N.C.
“Last year there were 10,000 churches that had zero baptisms,” said Fossett, a traveling evangelist for 13 years who, before turning to Christ, had been a male stripper. “… It’s high time we bring people to the feet of Jesus. We are still soul-winners.”
Fossett of Fossett Evangelistic Ministries in Dalton, Ga., joined Bailey Smith, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, COSBE President Bill Britt and Jerry Chaddick of Spirit Truth Ministries in Lake Charles, La., in leading the June 11 service.
Eddie Middleton, co-founder of NewSong, along with Joe and Kim Stanley, Jeff and Diane Anders and Eric Baker were the featured musicians.
Smith emphasized the importance of staying awake during critical times, relating today’s church to the sleeping disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane.
“More than ever since the Dark Ages, the church of Jesus Christ [in America] is asleep,” the longtime evangelist noted.
Like the disciples, Christians, particularly denominational workers, may have gotten “too close” to Jesus to hear Him.
“We get ‘professional’ about our time with Jesus,” Smith lamented. “Jesus is not a hymnbook, not First Baptist Church, not a revival meeting, not a love offering or the Baptist building in your state…. He is much more than that!”
Like the radio operator who fell asleep and did not hear the call for help from the Titanic’s captains, Christians likewise are asleep today, Smith said. As a consequence, many people are dying without Jesus.
“There has never been more of a critical time than this,” he said. “… How much have we lost because we are too spiritually asleep to hear God?”
Chaddick, preaching from James 4:7-10, which parallels a passage in 2 Chronicles 7:14, encouraged attendees to make obedience, worship, confession and humility priorities in their lives.
Countering the notion that God will send a new preacher with a new revelation and then suddenly America will turn the Lord, Chaddick asserted, “The real issue is that we are in desperate need for revival. A genuine, authentic move of God must start with us.”
Noting that God has already equipped His people, Chaddick added, “We know a whole lot more Bible than we are obeying.”
He asked, “Are there any ‘Do not disturb’ signs on your heart? You are as close to God as you deliberately want to be.”
Britt, of Compel Outreach International, noted in his sermon, “We’ve become ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We’ve become ashamed of the cross, because people are afraid they will offend someone.”
He emphasized, “Folks, the cross is the message. There is no grace without the shedding of Christ’s blood.”
Encouraging pastors to invite the evangelists to their churches, Britt noted, “The evangelists will tell you they have been experiencing the greatest meetings ever with thousands coming to know Christ.”
During the service, Britt awarded Marolyn Jean Ford and Kay Cox certificates for their milestone 25 years of evangelistic service.
Prior to the worship service, the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists held its annual retreat June 9-10 in Greensboro. Featured speakers included Jerry Rankin, president of the International Mission Board; John Avant, vice president of evangelism for the North American Mission Board; Milton Hollifield, executive director of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina; Richard Blackaby, president of Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary; and Anis Shorrosh of the Anis Shorrosh Evangelistic Association.
For more information about the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists, visit online at www.sbcevangelist.org.