Bobby Welch, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, will launch a nationwide bus tour August 29 from First Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Florida, where he is pastor. He will visit churches in all fifty states to encourage Southern Baptists to evangelize more passionately and reach a goal of 1 million baptisms.
"My invitation, prayer, and expectation is to visit all sizes and types of churches in order to string together a mosaic of what the SBC really looks like at its grassroots and heart," Welch said in a statement to Baptist Press.
Welch will travel in a forty-five-foot-long bus built by Hemphill Bros. Coach Company in Nashville, Tennessee, the company that built President Bush's campaign bus.
Painted on the side of the bus are faces of Southern Baptists interposed on an American flag with the words "The Southern Baptist Convention Kingdom Challenge" and "Everyone Can Witness, Win, and Baptize…One Million!" The design also reads, "Do all you can … with all you have…where you are … NOW!"
In twenty-five travel days spanning from August 29 to October 7, Welch expects to log approximately 20,000 miles. On board will be a six-person team of Welch, two drivers, a Baptist Press reporter, a media specialist, and a coordinator.
The format for each stop will be for Welch to make some opening remarks before joining church members in door-to-door visits within the community. In each state, Welch will invite the executive director, evangelism director, Sunday School director, convention president, pastor's conference president, and newspaper editor to join him on the bus while in their state.
"[This will be a time] for me to hear from them what they think our convention needs most and how I can help their state work," Welch said.
From Daytona Beach, the bus will travel up the East Coast through Georgia and the Carolinas to Richmond, Virginia, and then into New England. Then it will travel back through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, and down to the South through Tennessee, before making its way into Texas by September 10. The crew will take a brief break and then pick up in the Midwest before traveling north to Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the Dakotas. Next will be a trip out West through Colorado, Montana, and California.
The bus tour will wrap up with a trip to Vancouver, Canada, an SBC Strategic Focus City with the North American Mission Board, and Welch's travels will finish with trips to Alaska and Hawaii.
August Bus Tour Schedule
29 – Daytona Beach, Fla., First Baptist Church, 10:30 a.m.
29 – Richmond Hill, Ga., First Baptist Church, 6 p.m.
30 – Charlotte, N.C., Hickory Grove Baptist Church, 10 a.m.
30 – Spartanburg, S.C., First Baptist Church, 6 p.m.
31 – Scott Depot, W.Va., Good Shepherd Southern Baptist Church, 8 a.m.
31 – Richmond, Va., International Mission Board, 5:30 p.m.
31 – Richmond, Va., Staples Mill Road Baptist Church, 7 p.m.
September Bus Tour Schedule
1 – Hartford, Conn., Primera Iglesia Bautista, 9 a.m.
1 – Newton, Mass., Hellenic Gospel Church, 1:30 p.m.
1 – Warwick, R.I., Faith Baptist Church, 6 p.m.
2 – Brunswick, Maine, Maine Street Baptist Church, 9 a.m.
2 – Londonderry, N.H., Christian Fellowship Baptist Church, 1:30 p.m.
2 – Plainfield, Vt., Macedonia Baptist Church, 6 p.m.
3 – Madison, N.J., Madison Baptist Church, 10 a.m.
3 – Brooklyn, N.Y., Evergreen Baptist Church, 6 p.m.
5 – Philadelphia, Pa., Ezekiel Baptist Church, 9 a.m.
5 – Wilmington, Del., Bethany Baptist Church, 1:30 p.m.
5 – Rockville, Md., First Baptist Church, 6 p.m.
7 – West Chester, Ohio, Liberty Heights Baptist Church, 10 a.m.
7 – Louisville, Ky., Highview Baptist Church, 6 p.m.
8 – Nashville, Tenn., LifeWay Christian Resources & SBC, 7:30 a.m.
8 – Nashville, Tenn., Two Rivers Baptist Church, 11:30 a.m.
8 – Fort Payne, Ala., First Baptist Church, 6 p.m.
9 – Jackson, Miss., Colonial Heights Northpark Campus, 10 a.m.
9 – Norco, La., First Baptist Church, 6 p.m.
10 – Dallas, Texas, First Baptist Church, 7 a.m.
10 – Dallas, Texas, Annuity Board, SBC, 10 a.m.
10 – Denton, Texas, First Baptist Church, 12 p.m.
10 – Oklahoma City, Okla., Glorieta Baptist Church, 7 p.m.
16 – Alpharetta, Ga., North American Mission Board, 9 a.m.
23 – Cabot, Ark., First Baptist Church, 10 a.m.
23 – Lebanon, Mo., First Baptist Church, 6 p.m.
24 – Decatur, Ill., Tabernacle Baptist Church, 10 a.m.
24 – Greenwood, Ind., Calvary Baptist Church, 6 p.m.
26 – Green Bay, Wis., Highland Crest Baptist Church, 10:15 a.m.
26 – Menominee, Mich., Bay Area Community Church, 6 p.m.
27 – Minnetonka, Minn., Northern Oaks Community Church, 10 a.m.
27 – Fargo, N.D., Temple Baptist Church, 6 p.m.
28 – Sioux Falls, S.D., First Southern Baptist Church, 10 a.m.
28 – Sioux City, Iowa, Southern Hills Baptist Church, 6 p.m.
29 – Bellevue, Neb., West Bellevue Baptist Church, 10 a.m.
29 – Kansas City, Kan., Haven Baptist Church, 6 p.m.
30 – Las Vegas, N.M., First Baptist Church, 10 a.m.
30 – Aurora, Colo., First Baptist Church, 6 p.m.
October Bus Tour Schedule
1 – Buffalo, Wyo., Big Horn Baptist Church, 10 a.m.
1 – Billings, Mont., Trinity Baptist Church, 6 p.m.
2 – Burley, Idaho, First Baptist Church, 10 a.m.
2 – West Valley City, Utah, First Baptist Church West Valley, 6 p.m.
3 – Kingman, Ariz., First Southern Baptist Church, 10 a.m.
3 – Highland, Calif., Immanuel Baptist Church, 6 p.m.
4 – Reno, Nev., South Reno Baptist Church, 9 a.m.
4 – Klamath Falls, Ore., Suburban Heights Baptist Church, 6:30 p.m.
5 – Tacoma, Wash., Tacoma First Baptist Church, 10 a.m.
5 – Vancouver, Canada, Strategic Focus City, 6 p.m.
6 – Anchorage, Alaska, Muldoon Road Baptist Church, 4 p.m.
7 – Waikoloa, Hawaii, Waikoloa Baptist Church, 6 p.m.