SAN ANTONIO (BP)–Bobby Welch is traversing Texas.
Akin to his visits to Tennessee and North Carolina churches before the Southern Baptist Convention’s two previous annual meetings, Welch is spending six weeks in the Lone Star State prior to the SBC’s June 12-13 annual meeting in San Antonio.
Welch — who began his role as Strategist for Global Evangelical Relations with the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee on March 15 — told Baptist Press, “In fulfilling part of this new assignment, I want to emphasize among Texas Baptists the going and giving nature of our great, cooperative Southern Baptist Convention and to encourage all Southern Baptists in Texas regarding their opportunity to help fulfill our Lord’s Great Commission.
“Just as I did in my pastoral ministry and during my tenure as president of the Southern Baptist Convention, I also want to be certain that there is no banner ever lifted any higher than the banner of soul-winning discipleship,” the SBC’s immediate past president said. “And while on this six-week trip, I intend to do that by encouraging all Southern Baptists in Texas to enroll and participate in Crossover San Antonio.”
Crossover, now in its 19th year, is an evangelistic effort preceding each SBC annual meeting to share the Gospel with multiplied thousands of residents in the meeting’s host city.
The North American Mission Board estimates that 2,000 Southern Baptist volunteers will be in San Antonio when NAMB is jointly sponsoring Crossover San Antonio with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the San Antonio Baptist Association.
Crossover San Antonio officially is June 9-10. During the week and weekend prior to the SBC’s annual meeting, volunteers from scores of Southern Baptist churches in San Antonio and around the nation will spread the Gospel in Texas’ second-largest city.
Charles Price, director of missions for the San Antonio Baptist Association, said more than four out of five San Antonio residents do not attend church regularly, and two-thirds of the city’s 1.8 million residents have no church affiliation.
“These statistics signal the dire urgency that exists for soul-winning discipleship in and around San Antonio,” Welch said. “Truly, these are fields white unto harvest, and they invigorate me to be another voice that continues to raise the Gospel’s call and to focus on winning the lost in Texas.
“In short, I want to assist our Southern Baptist family in the Lone Star State to shine for Jesus Christ by sharing Him, the light of the world, with as many people as possible.”
Jim Richards, executive director of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, noted that Welch is “known as ‘Mr. Faith’ because of his evangelism strategy, FAITH, and millions have been touched by that effective Gospel presentation. Southern Baptists in Texas and around the world have no better representative than this great soul-winning pastor.”
Welch — former pastor of First Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Fla., where he served 32 years -– is the coauthor of the FAITH Sunday School-based evangelism strategy that uses the F.A.I.T.H. acronym and Bible verses to show people how to become a Christian through repentance and forgiveness and committing one’s life to Jesus Christ.
Richards said the SBTC is both “honored and humbled to have Bobby traversing our great state. Even though we are benefactors of his efforts, we also know that he travels for the cause of Jesus and the sake of lost souls. What an incredible blessing to have this gifted evangelist give six weeks of his life in Texas.
“I’m praying God will use Bobby to stir our spiritual fires and to reach people for Jesus Christ,” Richards said. “I trust that all Texas Baptists will pray for God’s power to be upon Bobby, especially now.
“I’m also praying God will use Bobby in the effort to help bring revival to our churches and eternal life to the lost. My desire is to see God save many during the tour and prepare His people to experience an even greater harvest during SBC Crossover,” Richards said.
Welch, a decorated Vietnam veteran, will begin his Texas initiative April 6, visiting churches in San Antonio, Austin, Houston and the Rio Grande Valley as well as military hospitals and installations.
For additional information about Crossover San Antonio or to register as a Crossover volunteer, go to www.crossoversa.org.