Published February 7, 2013
DULUTH — Joel Southerland, the Georgia Baptist Convention missionary providing leadership in evangelism, recently expressed to The Christian Index his concern about the lack of evangelistic fervor among our states churches.
Southerland explained, “Many of our churches are dying from apathy. Generally speaking, our churches are in worse shape today than they were 20 years ago. In fact, no county is more churched today than 20 years ago. There is a lack of passion for evangelism in the pulpit and in the pew.”
This year’s evangelism conference will focus on the 5 Smooth Stones adopted by the Convention with a special emphasis on “Spiritual Renewal.”
Southerland declared, “I am praying that God will spark a spiritual renewal within all of us that will ultimately lead our churches to become intentional evangelistic. Churches tend to drift away from evangelism. We must determine to intentionally reach people with the Gospel.
“Our evangelism ministry at the GBC is ready and eager to help every church become intentionally evangelistic by providing resources, tools, coaching, and training, whether in person or web-based.
“We also want to encourage churches to have revivals. Churches that have revivals baptize 20 percent more than the churches that do not have revivals – and that statistic takes into account even those churches that don’t do revivals well. If every GBC church had a revival that was prayed over and properly planned we would shatter every baptismal record in our history.”
Southerland added, “Our state needs the Lord. There is a spiritual dearth in our cities; and that spiritual dearth and decline is now moving out into our suburbs. Interestingly, many who once moved to the suburbs are now moving back into the inner city. It makes evangelism challenging, but we must push back the darkness and renew our commitment to win people to Christ wherever they live.”
The Georgia Baptist Convention Evangelism Conference, flying under the theme “Re:Vision,” will be marked by the same kind of inspiring preaching and singing of the past, but will bring some new and exciting facets to the conference this year.
The Re:Vision Conference will be held at First Baptist Church in Douglasville Feb. 25-26, but Southerland organized a steering committee of local pastors in the Douglasville area to help with the planning and promotion of this year’s conference.
Jon Reid, president of the Conference of Georgia Baptist Evangelists, also worked with Southerland to promote the conference by getting local pastors to host Georgia Baptist evangelists for Harvest Day services on the Sunday prior to the Re:Vision Conference.
More than 25 Baptist churches in the area will participate in the simultaneous effort to reach the lost. Southerland also believes that the revival preparation in the participating churches and revival services themselves will help fuel the attendance for the Evangelism Conference.
Southerland commented, “Although somewhat selfish perhaps, one of my personal goals is that we will fill up the church for the Monday afternoon session. If we can do that for the first session we will be able to touch the hearts of many people throughout the entire conference.”
Evangelist Keith Fordham will be preaching in Chapel Hill Baptist Church in Douglasville on the Sunday prior to the Conference. Fordham explained, “We will have a revival-type service on Sunday morning, but at 5 p.m. ‘Homer’ (Keith’s partner in ventriloquism) and I will meet with all the students the church is able to gather and present the plan of salvation. Then I will preach an evangelistic message at the service that night.”
Fordham added, “The Word of God does not return to Him void. Revivals still work. Soul Winning still works. Jesus still saves. This Evangelism Conference will stir our hearts toward those things that help us push back the darkness in our world.”
|1.||Beulah Baptist||Wayne Bray||Len Turner/Kim and Joe Stanley|
|2.||Calvary||Chris Humphries||Darryl O’Barr|
|3.||Chapel Hill||Randy Shirley||Keith Fordham|
|4.||Cornerstone||Ben Lang||William Johnson|
|5.||County Line||Jerry Adair|
|6.||Doss Memorial||Bill Smith||Tony Workman|
|7.||Ephesus||Billy Godwin||Rick Gage|
|8.||Ewing Road||Michael Stovall|
|9.||FBC Douglasville||John Pennington||Jon Reed / Erica Branch|
|10.||FBC Lithia Springs||Kevin McKoy||Steve Hale|
|11.||FBC Mableton||Stephen Bryd||Larry Wynn|
|12.||Heritage||Gene Fields||Brian Stewart|
|13.||Living Hope||Randy Sharp||David Roper|
|14.||Mt. Harmony||Randall Whitten||Allen Wellborn / Jeff Cleghorn|
|15.||Mt. Pisgah||Michael Crawford||Steve Franz|
|16.||New Canaan||Jason Loudermilk||Mark Yoho|
|17.||New Hope||Durwood Perry||Howard Andrews|
|18.||Pickett’s Mill||Tony Samples||Tim Williams|
|19.||Pleasant Grove||Rodney Carson||Tommy Fountain|
|20.||Pleasant Hill||Lamar Rackley|
|21.||Pray’s Mill||Josh Buice||Scott Smith|
|22.||Sweetwater||Bryan Alexander||Brian Fossett|
|23.||Victory||James Cook||Mark Merrit|
|24.||FBC of Breman||Herman Parker||Joel Southerland|
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