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‘Prove it,’ Welch exhorts in visit to seminary campus

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–More than 600 students, faculty and staff members at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary responded to Southern Baptist Convention President Bobby Welch’s call to evangelize the communities surrounding the Fort Worth, Texas, campus.

Welch was the guest chapel speaker for a Southwestern evangelism drive Feb. 24 to reach out to residents of nearby neighborhoods. Classes were canceled for the day in support of students, faculty and staff who would be out sharing their faith.

“How many of you believe that little line you keep saying and saying we do, ‘It is not all about me; it is all about Him. It’s all about Him, it’s not about me’?” Welch asked in a chapel message at the outset of the effort. “Well then, why don’t you prove it? Prove it. Prove it’s not all about you, it’s about Him.”

Those who let nervousness and over-thinking keep them from going out to share the Gospel disprove claims that their ministries are not “all about Him,” Welch said.

Refuting popular notions of evangelism as a spiritual gift, he defied its proponents to find backing for their view in Scripture. Evangelism, he explained, is a commandment, like tithing and offerings.

“Peter got out of the boat,” Welch said, likening the disciple’s faith as recounted in Matthew 14:21-23 with the faith necessary to evangelize. “Now that’s our problem. Too many of us won’t get out of the boat.

“You see, if we get out of the boat, the Lord is already committed to help us…. Get out of the boat and watch the Lord show up. He’s great at doing that and He’s waiting to do that today and every day of our lives.”

The harvest of souls Jesus referred to in Matthew 9:37 inevitably will pass, Welch said. Though salvation ultimately depends upon the Holy Spirit, he emphasized that workers must be ready to act while the window remains open.

Welch recounted times when he witnessed to a popular rock star on an airplane and a prostitute in New Orleans and led them in prayed to receive Christ. “From millionaires to prostitutes on whore house steps and all in between, for multiplied millions of people out there … the power of the Gospel unto salvation can change lives,” Welch said. “We have to take it to the lost … It’s time for us to go.”

Practicing what he preached after chapel, after a few minutes of surveying the shops of a local street Welch spoke with a woman in a hair salon. After Welch’s Gospel presentation, she asked Christ to come into her heart.

Welch highlighted the Southern Baptist Convention’s “Everyone Can” initiative to evangelize 1 million people in a year’s time. He said Southern Baptists from all around the country, including Hawaii and the West Coast, will converge on Nashville, Tenn., for the SBC’s June 21-22 annual meeting for the formal kickoff.

Also, a goal of 10,000 volunteers has been set for this year’s Crossover evangelistic effort on June 18, which will begin with a kickoff rally in the Gaylord Entertainment Center. During the afternoon, the volunteers will participate in visitation efforts headed up by an area church. That evening, everyone will return to the entertainment center for a time of celebration, testimonies and praise and worship.

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  • B. Jon Walker