By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
In his podcast reflecting on the month before, Tennessee Baptist Mission Board President and Executive Director Randy C. Davis observed that 780 decisions for Christ during the annual Youth Evangelism Conference was one of the highlights in March. In addition, more than 60 people surrendered to vocational ministry, he said.
“We’re just thrilled at what God did at YEC this year.”
Davis said the impact of YEC continues to grow even after its 51st year.
“I meet people all over the state who have been saved at YEC or moved to a deeper level of discipleship in their walk with the Lord,” he observed.
The TBC leader also noted the involvement of college students in missions and ministries. “It is amazing that hundreds of students from our campuses are on mission with the Lord. They’re giving of their spring breaks. Some of them are going to the far reaches of the world,” he said.
In addition, Tennessee college students provided help for disaster relief operations that are continuing in the Carolinas as well as taking the gospel to thousands of students from across the United States on spring break at various Florida beaches, Davis continued.
Davis noted that participating in missions efforts is important for students. “It gets their feet wet. If you talk to a dozen missionaries on foreign soil, you will find a vast majority of them got their first missions experience because of a BCM on a college campus.”
The TBMB leader is particularly pleased with increasing involvement of college students in disaster relief, “one of the most relevant ministries we’re participating in.”
In Tennessee, people will tell you that one of the things Tennessee Baptists do well that impacts lostness is disaster relief, he observed. Having college students become involved with disaster relief “is a tremendous encouragement to those people who have been involved in DR for a long time.”
Davis also noted the generous gift of a truck donated for disaster relief by Wallace Hardware in Morristown (see story on page six). “I learned a long time ago that Tennesseans do not give to excess, but when they give, they give generously to a need.
“I think that Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief has proven time and time again that they’re going to be good stewards and they’re going to go the extra mile in serving hurting people and introducing people to Jesus Christ. We’re very thankful for the donation of the Wallace Hardware truck.”
On another matter, Davis noted the impact Tennessee Baptists are having not just in the state, but across the Southern Baptist Convention. “Tennesseans are being used by the Lord across the state and across the globe,” he said, citing the use of TBMB staff members William Burton, Roc Collins and David Evans in recent evangelism events in other states.
Additionally, Tennessee pastors Steve Gaines and Larry Robertson, along with Evans, preached at the Kentucky Evangelism Conference in March.
“I think it’s a compliment to the kind of people we have in Tennessee that others beyond our state are saying, ‘Would you mind coming and preaching for us?’”
The increased emphasis on evangelism is encouraging for Davis because Tennessee Baptists are focused on a goal of seeing 50,000 people annually baptized, saved and set on the road to discipleship by 2024. “I think that’s where our momentum is. Our momentum is not yet in the numbers, but we see the ship turning.
“We see people talking about it. We’re seeing some very practical tools being applied in helping equip our members and being able to enter into gospel conversations with some confidence. … I think we’re in a very dry and thirsty time spiritually, but I see the revival coming.”
— You can listen to the entire podcast of episode 27 here.