For the Church (virtual) National Conference focuses on call to ministry
By T. Patrick Hudson
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) – With a focus on various aspects of what it means to be called to the ministry, Midwestern Seminary’s sixth annual For the Church National Conference was livestreamed across the world on Sept. 28-29.
Even COVID-19 couldn’t slow the conference’s momentum, as virtual attendees, who gathered individually, in small groups, or in socially distanced church gatherings, took in the messages and worship via technology. Additionally, during the event, faculty, staff, and students spread out within the Daniel Lee Chapel on campus for a watch party.
“For the last five years, we’ve had the joy of hosting our brothers and sisters in Christ at our For the Church National Conference here in Kansas City,” President Jason Allen said. “However, COVID-19 has brought changes in multiple ways for us here at Midwestern Seminary, and I’m sure for our attendees as well.
“In an effort to maintain safety and adhere to local healthcare regulations, we opted to hold FTC virtually. However, COVID-19 doesn’t reign over us, Jesus does, and we wanted to create a moment across the nation, and the world, where we could bring encouragement and light to our audience. One thing is certain, while the format of the conference may have changed, the Word of God endures forever.”
Keynote speakers for the event included Robert Smith Jr., Allen, Ray Ortlund, Jimmy Scroggins, Jared C. Wilson, H.B. Charles Jr. and Owen Strachan, who all preached around the conference’s theme of “A Sure and Steady Anchor.” Matt Merker led the conference in praise and worship.
Evangelism remains ‘everyday’ effort for Southwesterners despite COVID limitations
By Alex Sibley
FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) – Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has long had a formal door-to-door evangelism program titled “Everyday Evangelism” wherein professors and students venture daily into the neighborhoods around the seminary in order to share the Gospel with local residents. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, these efforts have been paused.
Despite this, Southwestern Seminary students and faculty have continued to make evangelism an “everyday” effort, utilizing preexisting relationships, technology and even, in some cases, socially distanced door-to-door efforts to continue proclaiming the Gospel to the lost. And as these Southwesterners have remained faithful in sharing the Gospel, God has been faithful in saving lost souls.
John D. Massey, dean of the Roy J. Fish School of Evangelism and Missions, said, “Even though ‘Everyday Evangelism’ has been on pause due to COVID-19, our students are reporting that their Gospel witnessing efforts have grown exponentially with family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. The design of ‘Everyday Evangelism’ is to create an awareness and ability in students to share the Gospel as they encounter people throughout their day and week. It is times like these when we cannot go door to door that we see that the training actually works in the everyday life of the students.”
Carl J. Bradford, assistant professor of evangelism, encourages his students that the pandemic should not cause them to cease evangelistic efforts, but should rather be utilized for the opportunities it presents.
“It’s important for us not to pause, because we have opportunities now that we’re not going to have later on,” Bradford says, noting that the pandemic has caused many nonbelievers to ask questions about spiritual matters. “God has given us this opportunity, and we need to strike while the iron is hot.”