FRANKLIN — For Mark Miller, the notion of developing and organizing a series of evangelistic rallies for pastors wasn’t just an idea that popped into his head.
It was a stirring in his soul.
Over the past two months, Miller, who serves as baptism and discipleship team leader and Sunday School specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board. has worked hand-in-hand with Roc Collins, strategic objectives director for the TBMB, to organize and oversee the “Ignite Tennessee Pastors Meeting and Rallies” events, which have been held across the state.
“God placed in my heart the goal of having an evangelistic event in every association by Oct. 31, 2024,” said Miller.
Miller said the purpose of the ministry was “to remind Tennessee Baptists of the vast lostness in Tennessee.” He said he believes that goal has been accomplished, as the rallies have been well attended and energetic.
“They have been incredible times of worship,” said Miller, “and have included a challenging message from Roc on the urgency of evangelism.”
At each event, pastors were introduced to the 30-Day Challenge — an evangelistic emphasis that includes a booklet written by Miller. The program includes six challenges for pastors to consider implementing in their church over a period of five Sundays and 30 days.
The challenges are based on the steps found in Winning Our Harvest Field Book. “The goal is to challenge members to pray, identify, invite, learn, share, serve and obey,” Miller said.
Tommy Warner, director of missions for Hardeman County Baptist Association, said the rally in his region was a special and significant night. It drew 80 attendees, representing 23 churches from the association. The pastors’ meal (a separate event) included 19 pastors from the area.
“All I can say is, ‘wow!’ ” said Warner, noting that the supper gathering “was very meaningful to the pastors, wives and leadership,” and that “the information given by Mark Miller and Roc Collins was absolutely spot-on.”
Warner said he especially enjoyed the format of the rally.
“I loved the way the order of service was laid out because we were challenged in every video,” he said. “Also, the music was so focused on worshiping God, and the interview gave me another opportunity to help our association be aware of how much lostness is all around us.
“And the message from God through Bro. Roc did a lot of spiritual surgery that opened eyes and hearts to look upon the multitudes and be moved with compassion for their lostness,” he said.
Miller said his motivation for this ministry was fueled by his desire to see Tennessee Baptists reach the “Five Objectives” that were put into place in 2014. He noted that when the Five Objectives were first introduced in 2014 — and approved by messengers at Summit that year — the aim was for each of the objectives to be met by 2024.
With that date quickly approaching, Tennessee Baptists are getting near “crunch time” in terms of meeting those goals, he said.
“(TBMB president and executive director) Randy Davis began his tenure here by visiting and praying in every county across Tennessee,” said Miller, “and God made it clear to me that we should wrap up this 10-year objective period by having an evangelistic event in every association.”
Justin Johnson, DOM for Sevier County Baptists, said he believed the Pastors Meeting and Rally was a unifying event for church leaders. “This event is important because it encourages pastors to come together — not only in person, but also in spirit — to realign their hearts with God’s heart,” he said.
“There is such a need for lost people in our community to not just hear the gospel, but to see it lived out in their friends, coworkers, neighbors and family members who call themselves Christians.”
Clay Gilbreath, DOM for Big Hatchie Baptist Association, said he came away from the event feeling excited and encouraged.
“The event was very important to encourage and equip our churches to be intentionally evangelistic and to promote reaching the lost,” he said. “The program during dinner was well presented and the sermon was, as always, inspiring and encouraging.”
Johnson said the rally was a great reminder of the importance of evangelism on an everyday basis.
“Most believers aren’t sharing Jesus with other people, so coming together as one body with the same focus will hopefully light a flame within our church families to have a burning desire and compassion to meet the needs of those around them and tell them about the greatest story ever told,” he said.
Johnson added that the event was a time of bonding for many of the attendees.
“I really enjoyed the worship with other pastors and seeing them come together acknowledging the fact that we not only live in a large pocket of lostness, but also that we must work together, with God, in order to see real life-change in this county,” he said. B&R To schedule a rally in your association, contact Mark Miller at email@example.com.