By Diana Chandler
PHOENIX (BP) – Professors, pastors and a state convention leader comprise a new task force to suggest how Southern Baptists might reap a greater harvest through personal evangelism and evangelistic preaching.
Southern Baptist Convention President Steve Gaines announced the team Wednesday (June 14) during his closing remarks at the 2017 annual meeting in Phoenix. Messengers authorized June 13 the appointment of the task force at Gaines’ request.
“[Tuesday] you voted to allow me to appoint a task force to study how Southern Baptists can be more effective in personal soul-winning (personal evangelism) and also evangelistic preaching,” said Gaines, pastor of Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn. “This committee is charged with bringing a report and any recommendations to the SBC meeting in Dallas, Texas, June 12-13, 2018.”
The task force is intended to reverse a decline in evangelism among Southern Baptist churches. According to a 2015 report from the North American Mission Board, the 310,000 baptisms in 2013 represented the lowest number among Southern Baptists since 1948. “It takes about 50 Southern Baptists to reach one person for Christ and see them through the baptistery,” NAMB said.
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson will chair the group, joined by Gaines and 17 others.
Seminarians appointed are from Gateway Seminary, president Jeff Iorg; from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, professor of evangelism Preston Nix; from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, professor of preaching Robert Matz; from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, professor of evangelism Alvin Reid, and professor of preaching Jim Shaddix; from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, professor of evangelism Adam Greenway; and from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, professor of evangelism Matt Queen, and professor of preaching David Allen.
Pastors appointed to the task force are Jordan Easley, Englewood Baptist Church, Jackson, Tenn.; Nick Floyd, Cross Church, Fayetteville, Ark. campus; Noe Garcia, North Phoenix Baptist Church, Phoenix; J.D. Greear, Summit Church, Durham, N.C.; James Merritt, Cross Pointe Church, Duluth, Ga.; Doug Munton, First Baptist Church, O’Fallon, Ill.; Bartholomew Orr, Brown Missionary Baptist Church, Southaven, Miss.; and Jimmy Scroggins, Family Church, West Palm Beach, Fla.
Jim Richards, executive director of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, was also named to the task force.
“We look forward to this work and to reporting our results to you,” Gaines said.