By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
After an absence of at least 15 years, the annual state evangelism conference will be brought back. The Tennessee Baptist Mission Board will sponsor the Win Tennessee State Evangelism Conference Jan. 30-31 at New Vision Baptist Church in Murfreesboro.
Mark Miller, baptism-discipleship team leader for the TBMB, recalls attending the state evangelism conference with his pastor while he was minister of education at Hilldale Baptist Church in Clarksville.
“I always left inspired, challenged and reminded of the great truth that each of us must share the gospel,” Miller said.
Miller said the decision was made to bring the annual conference back because today’s church leaders need that same experience and challenge.
“Why? Because people without Christ are condemned already. That is why we have chosen the theme, ‘Snatching Them from the Fire,’ based on Jude 23,” Miller said.
Roc Collins, director of strategic objectives for the TBMB and state evangelism director, also expressed his excitement that the former annual event is returning next year.
“The goal of the conference is to ignite the fires of evangelism in the hearts of Tennessee Baptists so that we can engage a lost culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Collins said.
“Our best statistics tell us that almost four million Tennesseans are lost without Jesus,” he continued.
Collins recalled that in 2014, messengers at the annual meeting of the Tennessee Baptist Convention overwhelmingly adopted the Five Objectives that are geared to seeing at least 50,000 Tennesseans annually saved, baptized, and set on the road to discipleship by 2024; having at least 500 Tennessee Baptist churches revitalized by 2024; planting and strategically engaging at least 1,000 new churches by 2024; realizing an increase in annual local church giving through the Cooperative Program that reaches at least 10 percent by 2024; and realizing an increase in annual giving for the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions that reaches at least $3 million by 2024.
In order to accomplish those objectives “we need a fresh touch for God and a zeal for reaching the lost,” Collins said.
“We need to have an urgency about winning our neighbors, family, friends and acquaintances to Jesus. Now is the time,” he stressed. “We cannot afford to wait another day. Eternal destinies are at stake.”
For several years, the TBMB has partnered with Union University for the West Tennessee Evangelism Conference and Carson-Newman University for the East Tennessee Evangelism Rally. COVID-19 forced the cancelation of those events last year and this year, but they are planned for 2022, Miller said.
“These events are critical to the engagement of our university campuses and serve us well as anchors for continued evangelistic efforts,” Collins said.
The January 2022 state conference will open and close with father/son preachers — Steve Gaines and Grant Gaines on Sunday night and Tony Evans and Jonathan Evans on Monday night.
“The hope is that lay leaders from around Middle Tennessee will take the opportunity to attend each night and be inspired to snatch them (the lost people in their communities) from the fire,” Miller said.
Monday morning will feature pastors: Brady Cooper, Roc Collins and Don Wilton. On Monday afternoon, four large breakout sessions with one focused on evangelistic preaching and three focused on strategies for reaching children, reaching students and reaching young adults will be offered. The afternoon will conclude with Randy Davis, president and executive director of the TBMB, sharing his heart and passion to win Tennessee, Miller said.
Miller observed that the only way to win Tennessee is to encourage and to serve churches to win their harvest field. He said the TBMB specialists from the Strategic Objectives group will be on hand with resources and information geared to help Tennessee Baptists reach the lost in Tennessee with the good news of Jesus Christ.
Collins observed that the “stakes are high. People are lost without Jesus and we have the great privilege of telling them the greatest news ever — Jesus saves!”
People may register for the Win Tennessee State Evangelism Conference at WINTN.org. B&R