FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Knock, knock, knock.
The door opens.
Such open doors are why Mormonism is “the fastest-growing homegrown religion in America,” said evangelist Kelly Green during a “Sharing Christ in the 21st Century” conference at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Green, himself a former Mormon, challenged Christians to get outside their comfort zones and reach the broken and confused world with the personalized gospel of Jesus Christ.
Green, who received a master of divinity degree from Southwestern in 1985, invites teenagers from across the country to gather at host churches for training in sharing the gospel. These “Frontliners” penetrate the neighborhoods of the host church, knocking on doors to share the good news.
Green told of a 14-year-old girl from Texas who was sharing the gospel in West Monroe, La., with her fellow Frontliners. They were already frustrated and disappointed after a long, hard day when a man opened the door of his home wearing his underwear.
Green said she told the stranger, “If you can handle it, I can too, [and] I’ve got something to tell you — his name is Jesus. Would you let me please tell you?”
Then, Green continued, she shared the gospel with the man and he accepted Christ. “On Wednesday night he came fully clothed with her to church.
“If you can go door to door, you can go anywhere and share Jesus,” Green said. “There is not a harder venue in all the world than go cold turkey knocking on someone’s door [because] you have no idea what’s coming out behind that door.”
The Sept. 17-19 conference at the seminary’s Fort Worth, Texas, campus, designed to help evangelical Christians share their faith in high-tech ways, featured Ed Young Jr., founder and senior pastor of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, which opened in 1990 and now has more than 11,000 people in weekly attendance; Ron Hutchcraft, a youth and family ministry specialist for 37 years and president of Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc.; and Voddie Baucham, associate teaching pastor at Sagemont Baptist Church in Houston who also preaches at Promise Keepers rallies and other special events throughout the country.
Sessions covered topics such as Changing the Climate of Your Church, Electronic Evangelism, Generational Issues and Planting an Evangelistic Church. Green, president of the Kelly Green Evangelistic Association in Brandon, Fla., has delivered the gospel for 30 years. In his message, Green said he has visited 800 churches and always wonders why members are not going out and bringing in the harassed, broken and lonely people who need to be rescued.
“It still works to get outside our comfort zone and to inconvenience ourselves, just like Jesus,” he said. “Whatever world you live in, are you willing to get your hands dirty in people nobody else wants?”
Preaching from Matthew 9:35-37, Green reminded listeners that Jesus preached to the broken world.
“When people get broken they are more open to the gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said, adding that the Lord also preached to the confused world.
People use the word “God” thinking there are many paths to God, Green said. They are confused. They must understand “what it means to know the resurrected Jesus,” he said.
Jesus shared with the broken and confused a personalized gospel, and Green encouraged Christians to imitate Jesus as the model for what is good, right and excellent.
Jesus himself did what he told his followers to do, Green said.
The adult leaders of Frontliners do not just tell teenagers what to do; “we go out there with them” instead of staying back in the comfortable confines of their hotels, Green said.
Despite Mother Teresa’s questionable theology, “it impressed the world that here was a little Catholic nun who spent 50 years of her life in the garbage cans of the world,” Green said. On the other hand, “we sit back in our air conditioned pews every week.”
Green concluded his message by reminding faculty and students that only one thing is worse than failing before man, and that is succeeding in the things that don’t matter to God.