News Articles

SBC president promotes peace & unity on bus tour rally

DEERFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio (BP)–Southern Baptist Convention President Bobby Welch is promoting peace. His bus tour is part evangelistic campaign — sharing with individuals about peace through Jesus Christ — and part nationwide rally to unite Southern Baptists around the singular purpose of evangelism.

“I have certain responsibilities and duties as president, but my agenda is the ‘Everyone Can Kingdom Challenge!” Welch said on Sept. 6, Labor Day, while he and his team took time to refresh at a hotel in suburban Cincinnati. “This is my passion, to win souls for the kingdom, and everywhere we go on the road I am challenging people.”

Welch already has seen a number of lives changed while on the bus tour, which, as of Sept. 7, had made 20 stops in 19 states. He also has seen overtures of peace between leaders of the two competing state conventions in Virginia.
Looking ahead to stops in Texas and Missouri, both with two competing state conventions, Welch will be talking about common ground of reaching the world for Christ.

A focus on evangelism and on an inerrant Bible can lead to unity in purpose, Welch said.

“This convention does not have one problem that soul-winning will not solve.”

Welch’s on-the-street approach has created interest among secular media outlets. His message is not unique, but his enthusiasm underscores his genuineness.

In Rockville, Md., Sept. 3, a PBS camera crew followed Welch in the rain as he went door-to-door in the community with members of the First Baptist Church, Rockville.

“I believe that Christ is the only way. You have to trust Christ,” Welch said. “The good news is it’s not about works. It’s not what we do. We ought to live right, and try and do right because we know the Lord has made a way for us.
I’m out here today, in the rain among these good people, because God has been so good to me through Christ dying on the cross. His blood helps me see that I can know the Lord and consequently, I’m just happy about it.”

CNN covered the kickoff of the bus tour in Daytona Beach, Fla., and writers for The Boston Globe, Orlando Sentinel and the Associated Press have traveled with Welch aboard the bus.

Welch said if God blesses Southern Baptists in their goal to reach a million baptisms, it will have a dramatic effect on SBC churches.

“If we witness, win and baptize a million people, you’re going to have far more than a million show up at the Baptist churches, because they have families and all of that,” Welch said.

He also remarked about the multiplicative effect for evangelism around the world.

“Well, now the IMB [International Mission Board] is over there, trying to figure out ways to put more missionaries on the field,” Welch said. “Well, these people are going to bring the resources, and it’s going to be a huge transformation.”

The tour resumed Tuesday, Sept. 7, at Liberty Heights Baptist Church in West Chester, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati. The first half of the tour will end Sept. 10 in Oklahoma City, Okla., and the second half will begin Sept. 23 in Cabot, Ark.

In 25 travel days from Aug. 29 to Oct. 7, Welch expects to log approximately 20,000 travel miles.

    About the Author

  • Allen Palmeri