PRIORITIZE EVANGELISM DESPITE DISTRACTIONS

By Ernest L. Easley
Evangelism Professor, Union University, Jackson

priorities-list-chalkboardA busy pastor recently asked me how to keep the main focus on evangelism while meeting all the other demands and distractions of church life.

Having served as a lead pastor for more than 30 years, I understand that frustration. I sometimes struggled to have any energy or drive left for evangelism after seemingly giving it all toward shepherding the flock.

So how do busy pastors and church leaders keep evangelism a priority with all the challenges and distractions? I have found these four ways helpful: [Read more…]

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FORMER ATHEIST WITNESSES FOR CHRIST

Minister’s wife says she is proof of God’s sense of humor

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Jason and Tiffany Bowen of Trenton attended the Summit in Sevierville with their children, from left, Evangeline, Charlotte Jean, and Samuel. — Photo by Corinne Williams

Jason and Tiffany Bowen of Trenton attended the Summit in Sevierville with their children, from left, Evangeline, Charlotte Jean, and Samuel. — Photo by Corinne Williams

SEVIERVILLE — During the The Good Cup event for ministers’ wives held at The Summit in November, the question was posed to those wives who attended, “Did you think you would ever marry a minister?”

Pardon Tiffany Bowen for laughing. The question often reminds her of God’s wonderful sense of humor.

At the time she met her future husband Jason Bowen, now pastor of First Baptist Church, Trenton, Tiffany was a self-professed “atheist, feminist bartender.”

Tiffany was working her way through the University of Tennessee in Knoxville when she met Jason, then a self-described “lukewarm” Christian who was working at the same restaurant. He asked her out three times before she agreed to date him and it was only going to be for one hour, she recalled. [Read more…]

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CAPTURE THE NEXT GENERATION: ED GAMBLE

By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Tennessee Baptists visit with leaders of a breakout session of Summit on Christian schools. From left are Walter Grubb, president, Harrison-Chilhowee Baptist Academy, Seymour; Wesley Scott, Southern Baptist Association of Christian Schools; Larry Reagan, pastor, Adams Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, Dresden, and headmaster, Central Christian Academy, Martin; and Ed Gamble, SBACS.

Tennessee Baptists visit with leaders of a breakout session of Summit on Christian schools. From left are Walter Grubb, president, Harrison-Chilhowee Baptist Academy, Seymour; Wesley Scott, Southern Baptist Association of Christian Schools; Larry Reagan, pastor, Adams Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, Dresden, and headmaster, Central Christian Academy, Martin; and Ed Gamble, SBACS.

SEVIERVILLE — “Ninety percent of America’s evangelical kids attend a school where it is illegal to teach the full truth, ” said Ed Gamble in a breakout session of Summit which includes the annual meeting of the Tennessee Baptist Convention.

“Why is it so important that the church take ownership of the weekday?” he asked in the Nov. 14 session, “Christian Schools and Beyond: Capturing the Next Generation.” 

Christians should be “passing our faith from one generation to the next,” however “in America we’re not getting it done.” said Gamble, retired executive director, Southern Baptist Association of Christian Schools. [Read more…]

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FREEMAN TO CONTINUE EVANGELISM FOCUS

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

New TBC President Steve Freeman was joined by his wife Leigh Ann, right, and daughter Katie following his election. His son Cole was unable to be present due to work and school obligations.

New TBC President Steve Freeman was joined by his wife Leigh Ann, right, and daughter Katie following his election. His son Cole was unable to be present due to work and school obligations.

SPRINGFIELD — Just like his predecessor, new Tennessee Baptist Convention President Steve Freeman has a heart and passion for evangelism.

Freeman, pastor of Grace Baptist Church, Springfield, was elected by acclamation at The Summit in November to succeed Roc Collins as convention president. Collins has since resigned as pastor of Indian Springs Baptist Church to become director of evangelism for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, effective in January. See story. [Read more…]

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EVANGELISM NOT A GIFT: IT’S OBEDIENCE

 Editor’s Note: In September, the International Mission Board hosted Baptist state paper editors in London to introduce its new media network and to explore its Global Cities Initiative, a part of IMB President David Platt’s desire to introduce a “limitless” missionary force of Southern Baptists. In December, Southern Baptists are observing a Week of Prayer for International Missions and are collecting the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering which supports missionaries around the world.

According to missionary Ben Armacost, right, there are only two types of people in London — those who are saved and those who are lost. He shares the gospel with James, a man he met recently in the West Norwood section of London.

According to missionary Ben Armacost, right, there are only two types of people in London — those who are saved and those who are lost. He shares the gospel with James, a man he met recently in the West Norwood section of London.

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector  

LONDON — The statistics on London, the self-proclaimed “Capital of the World,” are staggering.

London is home to about 270 nationalities with 300 spoken languages. The city is home to 66 unreached people groups (second highest in the world). In a city with an estimated population of 6.83 million (12 million in the greater London area), only 1 percent of the city is considered to be “reached” with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

What’s more, statistics reveal that there is a 97 percent likelihood that a young person in their 20s in the United Kingdom has never met a follower of Jesus Christ. [Read more…]

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COLLINS NAMED DIRECTOR OF EVANGELISM FOR TENNESSEE BAPTIST MISSION BOARD

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Roc Collins

Roc Collins

BRENTWOOD – Kingsport pastor Roc Collins, immediate past president of the Tennessee Baptist Convention, has been named director of evangelism for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board (TBMB).

Collins has been senior pastor of Indian Springs Baptist Church in Kingsport for the past 11 years. He informed his congregation Nov. 27 of his decision to join the TBMB staff in January.

In his new role, Collins will direct all efforts in achieving Objective 1 of the Five Objectives that Tennessee Baptist Convention messengers adopted as their long-range goal in 2014. Objective 1 is to see at least 50,000 Tennesseans saved, baptized, and set on the road to discipleship annually by 2024. [Read more…]

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‘IT’S LATER THAN YOU THINK’

By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Roc Collins, pastor of Indian Springs Baptist Church, Kingsport, delivers his president’s address.

Roc Collins, pastor of Indian Springs Baptist Church, Kingsport, delivers his president’s address.

SEVIERVILLE — “It’s later than you think, but it’s not too late,” declared Roc Collins, president of the Tennessee Baptist Convention at the TBC annual meeting. The meeting was held as part of the Nov. 13-17 Summit here.

“We believe Jesus is coming and because we believe He is coming we want to tell somebody who doesn’t know He is coming. I don’t understand what has happened to us that we seem to have lost our fervor. Friend, it’s later than you think. …

“We’ve become satisfied in too many of our churches, satisfied. We have no burden for a lost world. We don’t care if people die and go to hell,” Collins proclaimed in his president’s address. He spoke from Romans 13:11-12. [Read more…]

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NEW CHURCH BAPTIZES 99 IN 9 MONTHS

By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Nathan Thomason, founder and pastor, Outreach Baptist Church, Smithville, baptizes a boy outside the church facility in a strip mall near downtown Smithville.

Nathan Thomason, founder and pastor, Outreach Baptist Church, Smithville, baptizes a boy outside the church facility in a strip mall near downtown Smithville.

SMITHVILLE — Nathan Thomason wanted to be pastor of an evangelistic church here. So he started one.

Just nine months later, Outreach Baptist Church, which Thomason planted, has baptized 99 people.

All 99 people were baptized outside in the courtyard of the horseshoe-shaped strip mall which serves as the church’s facility. Thomason uses a portable baptistry.

One evening the courtyard “was full” as 21 adults, teens, and children were baptized, recalled Thomason. [Read more…]

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SPREADING THE GOSPEL REQUIRES YOU AND ME

By Billy Hoffman
Stewardship Development Specialist, TBC

crowd-of-people-illustrationIs God leading you and your church to share Christ where He is not known? I ask it this way because spreading the gospel is both an individual as well as a Christian community activity. In Acts 13 we continue to discover the pattern of the call and empowerment of the first missionary team from the church at Antioch.  From this we see there were three things in play which led to moving the gospel into new territory — spiritual resources, human resources, and tangible resources.  [Read more…]

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EVERY CHURCH CAN EVANGELIZE

Ernest L. Easley
Evangelism Professor, Union University

church-small-white-prairieEvery church can evangelize, including yours!

Sadly, it can be easier to find a reason for not evangelizing than to find a path for evangelizing. “We’re just too small,” some may say. “We don’t have enough money” or “Our members are too old.”

The first church  I served as pastor years ago had renovated the worship center, painted, and laid new carpet down in all the buildings. They were proud of all they had done. But when I presented a plan to go door-to-door sharing Jesus around our neighborhood, they balked. [Read more…]

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