By Roc Collins
Director of strategic objectives, Tennessee Baptist Mission Board
Social reform is making changes to improve something or some situation. Often social reform is touted as the answer to all of society’s problems. Certainly, changes could be made in our society that would improve many areas of life. But social reform without spiritual regeneration is like improving guest services on the Titanic.
Our culture has a heart condition, and it won’t change permanently until we have true regeneration. Spiritual regeneration is not changing something old; it’s beginning something completely new. While reformation is often needed, regeneration far and away, supersedes reform through the ages. When Jesus saved me, He didn’t just move me from bad to good, He regenerated me from dead to alive!
Like the Apostle Paul wrote, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (II Corinthians 5:17 NASB). While many seek social reform that lasts for a season, nearly four million people in Tennessee are living without Christ — a far deeper, more eternal consequence. My prayer to God is for the Church of Jesus Christ to focus on the eternal need for spiritual regeneration of all people.
On Jan. 30-31, 2022, at New Vision Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, the State Evangelism Conference will be back. We’ve already started praying that this event will be the catalyst of a great spiritual awakening and a season of spiritual regeneration unlike anything we’ve ever seen in this generation. Wouldn’t you like to be a part of that kind of moment?
In 1956 F.M. Dowell began to lead evangelism efforts in Tennessee. That year he held eight regional evangelism conferences. Dowell was aggressive and intentional in his evangelism efforts across our state. My heart is heavy as Tennessee has not had a State Evangelism Conference in more than a decade. We have and will continue to have regional conferences at Union University and Carson-Newman University. These conferences have served us well, and we plan to continue those with even greater intentionality.
However, our need to gather as a state to be encouraged, challenged and inspired in evangelism has never been greater. We need a fresh touch from God to reignite our zeal to win the lost to Jesus. When I came to serve at the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, I was approached by many desiring to have a State Evangelism Conference. My heart’s desire was to see this conference come back with excitement and fervor to help fuel hot hearts for evangelism.
My heart is full with anticipation and expectation. God has provided a strong lineup of preachers that have great zeal for the lost in our state and beyond. Sunday evening will begin with a father and son duo who are both pastoring evangelistic churches in Tennessee that are baptizing and discipling in a great way. Steve and Grant Gaines will begin the conference along with some great worship on Sunday evening. Monday will feature our host pastor Brady Cooper and Don Wilton from Spartanburg, South Carolina. As well as preaching, Dr. Wilton will lead a breakout session in the afternoon on evangelistic preaching.
Also, please pray for me as I’ll preach Monday morning. We will offer other breakouts in the areas of children, student and young adult evangelism. Randy C. Davis our executive director will preach after the breakout sessions and share his heart for winning Tennessee to Jesus. The evening session will highlight another father and son duo from Dallas, Texas. Jonathan Evans, the chaplain for the Dallas Cowboys and his dad, Tony Evans will both be preaching and challenging us to win the lost for Jesus.
I am excited about this conference and believe that God will use it in a mighty way to inspire us to Win TN for Jesus. It is my great joy to personally invite you to attend the Win Tennessee State Evangelism Conference. B&R