What would it take to boost evangelism and baptism numbers among Southern Baptists? Johnny Hunt says the answer is pretty simple.
“If just 10 percent of the people who attend our churches prayed for and reached just one person,” Hunt said, “the results would be the best year for baptisms our convention has ever experienced.”
And Hunt is setting out to help Southern Baptists accomplish it. As the senior vice president of evangelism and leadership at the North American Mission Board (NAMB), he wants to catalyze an evangelistic movement across the Southern Baptist Convention with the upcoming “Who’s Your One?” Tour.
Earlier this year, NAMB and SBC President J.D. Greear launched the Who’s Your One initiative as a way to encourage pastors and equip them with resources to challenge church members to focus intentionally on one person who needs to hear the gospel. Now, the tour will focus on extending that momentum with the goal of drawing in more churches across North America.
“I’ve been blown away by the response from pastors and churches,” Hunt said. “I’ve said that what we need is not another evangelism tool or program but a renewed heart that burns with passion to see friends and family come to faith in Christ. I’m hopeful and expectant that this tour will do just that.”
Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., will host one stop along the tour. Senior pastor and immediate past SBC President Steve Gaines believes Bible-believing Christians want to see people come to know Christ – but they often fail to share out of fear and intimidation.
“Southern Baptists must return to our roots by once again emphasizing the joy and privilege of winning lost people to Jesus one on one,” Gaines said. “We must verbally share the gospel with them and give them the opportunity, then and there, to repent of their sin, believe in Jesus and receive Him as Lord and Savior.”
NAMB is working with various state convention leaders and local churches to bring the tour to fruition.
“My prayer for the Who’s Your One Tour is that it would be a catalyst of passion and practicality here in Texas and beyond for our pastors, leaders and congregants,” said Shane Pruitt, state director of evangelism for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. “May this tour remind us of the gospel in our own lives, then spur us on to share it with others.”
At each stop of the tour, which begins Aug. 11-12 in Fayetteville, N.C., attendees will join a Sunday evening rally and have the option to participate in an evangelism workshop the following Monday morning. The workshops are open to all who want to attend, and while everything is free, registration is required to attend the workshop.
The rallies will include preaching from Hunt who pastored First Baptist Church Woodstock, Ga., for 32 years and was elected SBC president in 2008 and 2009 before transitioning to his current position at NAMB.
Each rally will also include worship led by different groups: either NewSong, Charles Billingsley or the host church’s worship team. More information is available at the tour link on whosyourone.com.
Four speakers will lead sessions during the Monday morning workshop that is designed with pastors, church staff and lay leaders in mind, both men and women. Workshop speakers will vary by host city.
Gaines will lead workshops at multiple stops on the tour, and he prays that those who attend will leave with a passion and a plan for sharing Jesus.
“You need both to be an effective soul-winner,” Gaines said. “You need to have a passion to help motivate you to be a verbal witness for Christ, and you must also have a specific plan to guide you once you engage in a gospel conversation. We will do everything we can to instill these two evangelistic imperatives into the hearts and minds of all the attendees.”
Allan Taylor, director of Sunday School and church education ministry at LifeWay Christian Resources, will be a featured workshop speaker at several of the tour stops. His focus will be utilizing small groups for the purpose of evangelism.
“Small groups organize the church into multiple mission teams,” Taylor said. “When they are organized, mobilized and individualized, then the Great Commission will be realized, and the church energized.”
Catherine Renfro, a marketing consultant for evangelism at NAMB, will lead a session on cultivating a heart for evangelism.
“The enemy uses fear, uncertainty, busy-ness and other tactics to keep us from sharing the gospel,” Renfro said. “The fact is that we as believers are called to go about making disciples, and this session will provide a practical approach for accomplishing that.”
The tour will travel to eight different cities in 2019 with twelve more dates currently slated for 2020. Plans for even more stops in the fall of 2020 are in development.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Brandon Elrod writes for the North American Mission Board.)