Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of columns about the National Evangelism Initiative, called God’s Plan for Sharing (GPS).
ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–Think back. Do you remember what your life was like before you knew Jesus Christ as your Savior? Sadly, some of us have been saved so long, we can’t remember what it was like to be lost.
Jesus said in Luke 19:10 that “the Son of Man has come to seek and save that which was lost.” I believe no phrase better describes North America than “that which was lost.” We live in a land where sin is not only tolerated, but celebrated. We live among a population that wears its lostness as a badge of honor. And unfortunately, we live in a world where thousands among us die every day without ever having been given a chance to accept God’s amazing gift of eternal life. That’s why now is the time to act. That’s why now, the Lord is bringing a God-sized challenge to Southern Baptists.
Imagine if every believer in North America shared his or her faith. Imagine if every lost person in North America heard the truth of the Gospel. That’s the vision driving the National Evangelism Initiative, or God’s Plan for Sharing — GPS. Your North American Mission Board, your state convention, and a number of our other Acts 1:8 partners launched this new initiative in June at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting, and, for all kinds of reasons, it’s already generating excitement. Why?
One reason is that GPS was born from a grassroots effort. For two years, the North American Mission Board, many state conventions and a number of other Acts 1:8 partners prayed, planned and listened — together — and followed God’s leading in building this initiative.
Another reason for excitement is that GPS is not a “one-size-fits all” strategy. While the Gospel message remains the same, GPS materials can be tailored to big cities, small towns and any place in between.
When many people in our culture today hear “GPS” they think of that wonderful new gadget that helps us get to a destination. “God’s Plan for Sharing” works much the same way. Our final destination is every believer sharing and every person hearing by the year 2020. And, much like a trip taken with a global positioning device, the journey to our destination has mileposts along the way. Those mileposts are:
— Praying — leading and training every believer and every church to actively pray for the lost.
— Engaging — leading and training every believer to build witnessing relationships.
— Sowing — blanketing North America with the Gospel message in a way that results in every lost person being given the chance to accept Christ.
— Harvesting — leading and helping your church to celebrate and follow-up with every salvation response.
We will take a closer look at these four turn-by-turn components of God’s Plan for Sharing in the days ahead. And as we prepare to take this journey together, the North American Mission Board has produced a special media campaign — TV, radio, print, and Internet — that will help Southern Baptists get started along that journey. You can visit www.wearesouthernbaptists.org to find those media resources that you can download for free and use right now to start engaging your community.
If we follow the mileposts, I’m convinced we can reach our destination of every believer sharing and every person hearing. But God wants us all on this journey together. Join me, and thousands of other believers, as we take the ride of our lives.
The lost world outside your window demands nothing less.
Geoff Hammond is president of the North American Mission Board. For more information on the God’s Plan for Sharing initiative, visit www.nei2020.org.