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Witnessing connects believers to God’s power, consultant says

RIDGECREST, N.C. (BP)–Why aren’t more churches experiencing the power of God?
Sean Keith believes it’s because most church members aren’t sharing the gospel.
“Our responsibility is to tell the story, and we have the best news on earth,” Keith, a youth consultant in the Sunday school division at LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, said. “So, why aren’t we sharing our faith more often? Sometimes we’re just not plugged into the source.”
In a seminar during a National Sunday School Leadership Training Conference July 13-17 at Ridgecrest (N.C.) Baptist Conference Center, Keith told youth workers tapping into that “eternal” source requires a growing familiarity with God’s Word and a consistent prayer life.
“We know we have to look to God’s word. … And prayer is probably the most effective and powerful weapon in a Christian’s arsenal, but it’s also probably used the least.”
Keith shared two discouraging points to illustrate how many Southern Baptist churches are failing to plug into the source of God’s power: 1) more than 10,000 churches in the denomination failed to baptize even one person last year and 2) youth baptisms in particular are down, with more teenagers being baptized in 1971 than in 1997.
“There are pockets of churches where God is really moving and people are being reached. But until people start telling people about Jesus, we’re not going to experience real growth (as a denomination).”
Keith admitted he had recently been convicted about his own witnessing efforts.
“I knew I should be sharing my faith more, but I thought, ‘Lord, look at where I work. I’m around Christians all the time. I don’t know any lost people.”
Even so, last February, Keith felt led to make a public commitment at his church that he would share his faith at least once a week for a year. He encouraged his pastor and church members to keep him accountable.
He soon realized he encountered lost people all the time — at the dry cleaners, on airplanes, even in his own house.
“The first person I led to Christ was my own 7-year-old daughter. This was a great reminder to me that sharing our faith starts at home.”
While he has missed witnessing some weeks, Keith said he has shared his faith 10 times and led five people to Christ. Another encouraging development is that youth at his church have observed him sharing his faith and have started witnessing to their friends.
“They are doing it because they see it modeled,” Keith said. “They hear us talking about sharing the gospel, but if they never see us do it, then they won’t do it either.
“If you’ll start doing the things God wants you to do, you’ll discover the power of God,” he said. “And you’ll discover how exciting the Christian life can be.”
The National Sunday School Leadership Training Conference was sponsored by LifeWay’s Sunday school division.

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  • Chip Alford