SBC Life Articles

Crossover Triad: Everyone Can

Having scheduled sixty-eight Everyone Can Win One rallies and pastors' luncheons across North Carolina, Southern Baptist Convention President Bobby Welch completed his eighteenth such meeting at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Carthage during his March 5 through April 30 schedule.

Continuing the "Everyone Can" Kingdom Challenge! he launched when he was elected SBC president in 2004, Welch said the rallies and pastors' meetings will encourage thousands of North Carolina Southern Baptists to sign up for and attend the Crossover evangelistic opportunities preceding this year's SBC annual meeting in Greensboro. This year's Crossover Triad evangelistic thrust is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, June 10-11, with the SBC's annual meeting to follow on June 13-14 at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex.

Welch said his Everyone Can Win One meetings "represent my heart's desire and soul-deep conviction that Southern Baptists everywhere, not only in North Carolina, must awaken to the Kingdom priorities of sharing the Gospel and baptizing believers as members of local Southern Baptist churches."

On Sunday morning, March 12, Welch preached at Englewood Baptist Church in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.

"It was a God thing," said Englewood's pastor, Michael Cloer, who reported that twenty-nine people committed to follow Jesus Christ and thirteen others joined the church.

It was "FRANTIC" Sunday at Englewood, Cloer said, describing FRANTIC as an acronym for Friends, Relatives, Associates, Neighbors Together in Church.

"From the moment we entered the service, you could tell God was working," the pastor said. "We'd been praying for this day. Our folks had invited their unsaved friends to church, and God honored that."

Welch's sixty-eight meetings across North Carolina in the fifty-seven-day span are part of the SBC-wide "Everyone Can" Kingdom Challenge! Welch is challenging Southern Baptist churches to "Witness, Win, and Baptize … One Million" during the current church year.

The push for Southern Baptist churches to baptize 1 million people in a year reached the halfway point at the end of March.

"I'm extraordinarily encouraged by what I'm hearing from all across the country," Welch told Baptist Press, "because I've never heard so much positive talk about witnessing, winning, and baptizing as I'm hearing now."

Welch, with his election as president of the Southern Baptist Convention in 2004, initiated the "Everyone Can" Kingdom Challenge!

"There's no way to even remotely quantify how things are going numerically," Welch said. "However, several churches that have told me they have baptized more than one hundred people in a single baptismal service. Just about every day I'm hearing from small churches that they are breaking records in baptisms. Sometimes it's only three baptisms and sometimes it's only eight. But that's more than they've ever done before and that's a great thing.

"What we're hearing from our Baptist associations across the country is overwhelmingly positive," Welch continued. "We've got associations in the mix like we've never had before. That's a very healthy, fresh touch to me. At almost every meeting I'm attending, there are associational missionaries who stand up and share what they're doing in this Everyone Can campaign. One associational missionary announced that he's organized five baptismal rallies in one day. Another told me that three other associations are banding together for baptismal rallies. To me, that is huge, because that is an actual manifestation of one of our Everyone Can goals: unity of purpose [for evangelism] ….

"My disappointments so far," Welch said, "are that we don't have enough time and enough resources to accomplish everything I'd like to in this evangelistic and baptismal effort.

"Some people ask me if I'll be disappointed if we fail," Welch continued, "and I say, There's no way we can fail. Ask just one person who came to Christ as a result of Everyone Can, who had their guilty, stained heart cleansed from sin, who enjoys a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and who has access to our Creator God. [Ask that person] if Everyone Can failed, and that person will vehemently disagree. In fact, they'll tell you it was a smashing success."

Welch added that the Everyone Can initiative has been buffeted by "the distraction of the circumstances resulting from the hurricanes and the church fires in Alabama. But, as usual, what presents itself as a distraction can also be used and has been used for the good of witnessing to others."

Several avenues of involvement remain a vital part of making the remaining months as productive as possible for winning and baptizing the lost:

• In addition to Easter Sunday and November 27 of last year, Welch has asked that churches also highlight baptism on September 30, the final day of the SBC's church year and the closing date of the Everyone Can initiative.

• Baptist associations can still schedule baptism rallies. Last fall, Welch asked the associations to call their churches together for two such rallies by September 30, 2006, on dates that best suit their calendars.

Suggestions for planning the associational rallies are available at http://www.everyonecan.net by clicking on the "I'm It" logo. The Web site also includes a template for a promotional poster.

The beginning steps, according to the suggestions, include a meeting with the association's director of missions and the formation of a steering team to recruit the rally's leaders and make such decisions as the date, location, featured speaker, and strategies for publicizing the gathering.

In a brief downloadable message titled "You're It" at the Everyone Can Web site, Welch says to pastors, "You're it and I'm it. I want to ask you, Can we count on you to take leadership in that association? Go to your associational director of missions … go to fellow pastors and say, 'We need to do this, we can do this, we ought to do this, we need to be a part of this unified purpose.'"

• Baptists from across the country can participate in the Crossover evangelistic opportunities preceding this year's SBC annual meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Links to Crossover details and a downloadable video for use in enlisting volunteers during Sunday services or other settings can be accessed at http://www.everyonecan.net.

• Churches can begin registering their baptism totals at the Everyone Can Web site, to provide "a ballpark figure of what kind of progress we're making," said Jay Johnston, director of FAITH/evangelism and discipleship at LifeWay Christian Resources. "We want to rejoice at what God has done." The final results of the initiative, however, will not be known until April 2007 when the compilation of Southern Baptists' Annual Church Profile is completed for the 2005-06 church year, October 1 through September 30.

Johnston also encouraged pastors to send testimonies of what God is doing in their churches and communities as a result of the Everyone Can initiative.

On Sunday evening March 12, Welch spoke at Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Raleigh. Preaching from Luke 16, Welch drew from the account of the deaths of a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus in a sermon titled "Dead Men Do Talk."

After reading the passage, Welch revisited the rich man's plea from hell that Abraham would send Lazarus with some water. Welch described the rich man's request as sounding more like this: "FATHER ABRAHAM!" he screamed wildly with a gruesome face. "S-s-s-s-send Lazarus," he said in a desperate voice, with his fingers grasping heavenward.

Welch speculated that the rich man hadn't been in hell for more than twenty seconds before he became a soul-winner.

Welch then asked the crowd, "Do you think there are more soul-winners in hell than there are in this auditorium tonight?" He asked the same question in his sermon at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Carthage.

The rich man didn't ask Abraham to send someone to his banker or his buddies down at the club; rather: "The rich man asked Abraham, 'Send someone to my daddy's house,'" said Welch, who explained the rich man knew that his five brothers would face the same torment.

"What about that blonde-haired, blue-eyed beautiful granddaughter of yours?" Welch asked. "If she dies tonight without Jesus, she won't go to heaven. And there's only one other option.

"Hell is no joke. Hell is real. Hell is horrible," Welch said, urging his listeners to take seriously their responsibility to witness to their own families and others.

"God's not going to ask you about the lost people of Daytona Beach," said Welch, who has served as pastor of First Baptist Church there for thirty-two years. "But neither is He going to ask me about the lost people who live near you. He's going to ask you about them."

Earlier on the same day, Welch spoke at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina staff chapel service followed by a pastors' lunch meeting at First Baptist Church in Cary.

Delivering similar messages at both events, Welch cited the words of Romans 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God's power for salvation to everyone who believes.

Welch recapped his personal testimony of coming to faith in Jesus Christ and of how God miraculously spared his life in Vietnam, where Welch was left for dead after being severely wounded in battle.

"Pow!" Welch clapped his hands. "That's the dynamic power of the Gospel."

God's people need to "reclaim our confidence in the dynamic power of the Gospel to save lost sinners," he said.

Welch explained he has been "bustin' a gut" the last eighteen months to get Southern Baptists to realize the importance of winning lost people to Christ.

Noting that ministry for Christ is costly, Welch said he's given up many things to be on mission for God.

"When I kiss my wife before I leave on these trips, it's the same kind of kiss we shared when I left for Vietnam," Welch said. "We both know I'm on a very important mission."

Recounting a recent return trip back to his home, he and his wife Maudellen greeted each other with a kiss at the airport. However, on the way home, Welch saw that Maudellen wasn't smiling nearly as much as usual. Concerned, Welch asked her if everything is all right. "Aren't you happy to see me?" he asked.

"Yes," she said.

"So, what's wrong? Why are you so quiet?"

"'It's because I know you're leaving again,'" Welch recounted Maudellen's words, his chin quivering. "'But, I know you're on the mission.'"

More information on the "Everyone Can" Kingdom Challenge! can be accessed at http://www.everyonecan.net.

    About the Author

  • Norm Miller