We already have the tools to reach next-generation Hispanics

 
Billy Young, next generation ministries catalyst with the Florida Baptist Convention, pointed out in a phone conversation that Millennials and post-millennials are the generations that have perhaps been the most exposed to diversity through their school systems. “Student ministry/college ministry is more diverse than other ministries because [Millennials and post-millennials] have gone to school with many different cultures; they are accustomed to interacting with people different than they.” For Young, this is encouraging because it means that ...

Just what is it, exactly, that leads to a successful revival?

 
Blackrock Baptist Church in Yulee has been having successful revivals for the last 26 years. Senior Pastor John Kasper, who’s been leading the church for the last three of those, said preparation is key. Kasper said the people must be prepared to receive revival through a combination of prayer and fasting. “Prepare people not to put hope in the evangelist,” he said. “God brings revival.” David Burton, president and founder of David Burton Ministries, said ...

Survey: 79% of unchurched say it's OK if friends share their faith

 
A recent study of unchurched Americans by LifeWay Research and the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism in Wheaton, Ill., found that 79 percent of the unchurched don’t mind if Christian friends talk about their faith if it’s something they genuinely value. Luther Stanford, lead pastor of City Church at Northside in Panama City, said that number is “dead on the money” in his ministry context. He said the “plastic” evangelism presentations we used ...

Five tips to evangelize superstitious religious people

 
Terror gripped Simon and his family. Their neighborhood mutt had howled and barked incessantly the previous night at the front door of their one-room home. Simon explained that the dog's behavior signaled an impending death in their household. While many may simply dismiss Simon as foolishly superstitious, others would not. In fact, millions of people see the world as Simon does. Traditional Religion, as it is called, is common in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe, and yes, North America. Vestiges ...

The unchurched: They don't know what they don't know

 
Sixty-two percent of those who no longer attend an organized church service did so as a child, according to a recent study of unchurched Americans conducted by LifeWay Research and the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism in Wheaton, Ill. Sam Rainer, lead pastor of West Bradenton Baptist Church in Manatee County, says churches need to be sensitive to this fact as they interact with people who don’t currently attend church. Rainer cautioned that just because they may have ...

Diana Davis: Keep the Christmas spirit going all year long

 
It feels so wonderful how the spirit of Christmas adds oomph to life. We live in anticipation and we're even nice to strangers. We become quite intentional about giving to others. But as we turn the calendar page to Dec. 26, does that Christmas spirit fade? As you pack up those Christmas decorations, consider these five simple reminders to help keep that spirit of joy and generosity at the forefront throughout the year: Live expectantly. Anticipation is at a high during ...

Teen overcomes fear to spread Gospel in South Africa

 
The children crowded around 18-year-old Bethany Amber, hands reaching toward her on the hot South African morning. A few years ago this kind of crowding frightened the Southern Baptist "missionary kid." At age 13 she found the lack of personal space in the townships difficult to endure, having just moved to South Africa with her parents who were International Mission Board missionaries. "People were always wanting to touch my hair, touch my face," Bethany recalled. But she's learned to understand and ...

Converting a sheet of paper into salvation tool

 
Take an 8½-by-11 sheet of paper and fold it in half. Now fold it in half again. Then fold it in half one more time, so that you're holding a pocket-size piece of paper. Pray and think a few moments—perhaps off and on for a day or two or as long as need be—to seek God's guidance for a short phrase that might spark someone's interest in your journey of faith or the importance of ...

Pearl Harbor attack cited as evangelism catalyst in Hawaii

 
As Americans commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, some Christians also are remembering a series of evangelistic harvests that emerged from the death and destruction. Among those to find a saving relationship with Jesus in the aftermath of Dec. 7, 1941, were the commander of the Japanese air fleet that carried out the attack, Japanese Buddhists in Hawaii and other Hawaii residents who heard the preaching of missionaries recalled from East Asia. 'Impressed & captivated' by Christ ...

An amazing Christmas gift: Creating your conversion story

 
The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas always ignites the stress of finding just the right gifts for loved ones and friends. The reality is that Christmas in America is more of a commercial event than a religious holiday. Decrying commercialism won't change things much, but there are some ideas to make your holiday season a more spiritual experience for your family. Let me recommend an amazing gift you can give this year that will have long-lasting impact. I propose that ...

Arkansas family goes from gang members to followers of Christ

 
Last year, numerous gang-related shootings rocked a Springdale, Ark., community. Following the death of two young men killed in gang-related shootings, stunned residents responded with a peace march to stand against gang violence. As the crowd paused for a moment of silence, a former gang member had time to thank God for rescuing him—and 14 members of his family—out of that culture. "If I did not meet Christ, I would be serving life in jail, or I ...

'It's never too late': 94-year-old Louisiana woman gains new life

 
Wearing a shower cap moments from entering the baptismal waters, Ophelia White was beaming with excitement. With the encouragement of friends gathered in the Cook Baptist Church worship center in Ruston, La., the 94-year-old new believer was baptized, answering the prayers of those closest to her. "I want people to know it's never too late," White said. "Get with it." When she was a young girl, White's mother urged her to go forward and ask to be baptized. Not fully ...

Sharing Christ's love with your Hindu friends

 
Anyone who has shared the Gospel with a follower of Hinduism likely will be familiar with a common refrain something like this: "Yes, what you are sharing is very much like what I believe. I also believe in Jesus. You see, all religions are different paths to the same God." Our reaction might be to promptly set about showing how it's just not true. We display our Western logic to prove that the gods are not the same and that ...

Southern Baptist pastors participate in evangelism workshop

 
An Engage 24 workshop was exactly what Pastor Bruce Smith Sr. apparently needed. Some could say it is what he was searching for. "I'm just so excited I came," Smith said of the evangelism forum hosted at the North American Mission Board building in Alpharetta, Ga., Oct. 4-5. "The speakers were funny, on point and validated what I am already doing in my church when it comes to evangelism. I needed that encouragement because church planting can be hard. And yes, ...

Missionary to Russia loses anti-evangelism law appeal

 
A Baptist missionary convicted under Russia's new anti-evangelism law and compelled to end his ministry there has lost his first court appeal in Oryol, Russia, but has vowed to continue legally fighting for the cause of religious freedom. An appeals court judge Sept. 30 upheld the conviction of Donald Ossewaarde on charges of conducting missionary activities in violation of the new law that prohibits evangelizing outside church walls and without a government permit. "[My attorneys] assured me that this case will ...

Southwestern students lead landscaping duo to the Lord

 
Christian Stringer and Analisa Gonzales, as part of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's "Everyday Evangelism" initiative, knocked on several doors in one Fort Worth, Texas, neighborhood and engaged in a few short conversations Sept. 8. But initially, none involved Gospel presentations. As Stringer and Gonzales made their way back to meet up with another team of student evangelists, they noticed a man on a riding lawn mower in the back of a trailer. "It looked like he had just finished his yardwork ...

Oklahoma City church 'adopts' high school football team

 
How can a church impact its community? How about adopting a high school football team? Cherokee Hills Baptist Church is investing in Putnam City High School as families "adopt" players on the Pirates' football team by going to home games and cheering them on. The idea happened as Pastor Mike Keahbone was looking for ways the Oklahoma City church could have a community presence. "We started praying for God to open doors," Keahbone recounted. "And Kyle Hale [Putnam City assistant ...

Chuck Lawless: 12 characteristics of evangelistic pastors

 
In nearly 20 years of studying churches in North America, I have yet to find an evangelistic church that was not led by a strongly evangelistic pastor. Here are some general characteristics I've seen in these pastors: 1. They make themselves do evangelism. Some are naturally gifted evangelists, but many are not. They just know they need to do evangelism and they need to lead the way—so they intentionally choose to do what sometimes makes them uncomfortable. 2. They hold themselves ...

Ministry brings Gospel to Texas strip club

 
When Sent Church in San Angelo, Texas, was founded three years ago with an emphasis on missional communities, pastor and church planter Josh Lilly never envisioned involvement in ministry to a local strip club. But after meeting Judy James, founder of LACE Ministries (Ladies Achieving Christ's Excellence), Lilly realized his church had a unique opportunity to reach women caught up in the industry. LACE began as an outgrowth of James' master's level studies. A social worker with an undergraduate degree ...

'Horse whisperer' proclaims Gospel at Missouri State Fair

 
David Frazier doesn't really like the term "horse whisperer." "That's kind of Hollywood. I haven't even seen the movie," Frazier said of a 1998 film starring Robert Redford, who played the role of a horse trainer with a gift for understanding horses. "But we use the term here because people understand what it means, and it communicates to the audience that we are going to train a horse in front of them." Frazier did that on the first day of the ...

David Platt: Make evangelism 'primary' in life, ministry

 
International Mission Board president David Platt sounded the alarm against a "gospel-less" and "gospel-lite" missions approach that many are apparently adopting today. This dangerous trend, he said, promotes good deeds but minimizes a call for repentance. Platt spoke of his concerns during the Global Missions Emphasis chapel at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Sept. 6. He referenced debates taking place among some evangelical mission agencies regarding the usage of "Son of God" in translating Scripture or in interacting with Muslims. "I ...

BGEA releases new evangelistic film 'Decisions'

 
As evangelist Billy Graham approaches his 98th birthday, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) has released a new video in the My Hope outreach that has reportedly led more than 10 million people to Christ internationally. Graham's son Franklin delivers the Gospel in the new evangelistic film "Decisions," a 28-minute free resource featuring diverse Americans who accepted Christ as Savior during Franklin Graham's 50-state Decision America Tour still in progress. "I've been talking to people about the importance of decisions. I ...

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally remains fertile soil for evangelism

 
Josh Mueller wasn't exactly sure what he was getting into when he drove to the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. His brother Jeff is his pastor at Restore Church in their hometown of Yankton, S.D. Jeff had recruited Josh to volunteer at the Dakota Baptist Convention's Sturgis Bike Giveaway evangelism initiative. During their first shift at the evangelism venue, Josh was too nervous to share his faith with anyone, much less a stranger. Like many Christians, Josh was nervous about ...

Olympics: Baptist volunteers share Jesus, see lives changed

 
While the Olympics may draw fans from all over the world to celebrate athletic accomplishment, it also draws missions volunteers interested in taking the Gospel to the nations. Steve Paquette, of Golden Acres Baptist Church in Phenix City, Ala., and James Gardner, of McClendon Baptist Church in West Monroe, La., were part of a team of about 25 volunteers from International Sports Chaplains who witnessed to people at various Olympics sites in Rio de Janeiro. "We have a pin designed ...

Baptists report 3,202 decisions for Christ in Brazil

 
Southern Baptists returning from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, are sharing testimonies of widespread revival in churches, communities, prisons and schools, following an eight-day schedule of crusades, medical ministries and other outreach efforts in this South American country. Wayne Jenkins, director of evangelism and church growth for the Louisiana Baptist Convention, said there were a recorded 3,202 salvation decisions resulting from events conducted July 10-17. "God did exceedingly above all that we could think or ask," Jenkins said. "Even working for the first ...

Atheist responds to Baptists' service & love

 
Kim Menon was an avowed atheist. As a child, her parents took her to church, but no one could satisfy her with the answers she sought. "I thought believers just weren't intelligent enough," Menon said. Now a kindergarten teacher in Seattle, education is a central part of Menon's life. Striving to get involved in her students' lives and to know their parents, she believes that's how students best learn and grow. But Menon had no idea this path would lead ...

Pokémon Go party at Southwestern Seminary draws 6 gamers to Christ

 
When viewed through the otherworldly lens of Pokémon Go, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is home to three "gyms," or virtual meeting places, and nearly three dozen "Pokéstops," or landmarks. Thus, numerous Pokémon "trainers," or participants—enthusiasts who wouldn't otherwise trek to a seminary campus—have made their way to Southwestern as they play the game. Realizing the unique opportunity for outreach, seminary students and faculty hosted a "lure party" at the Fort ...

Pokémon Go craze drawing gamers to church

 
Pastor Dave Dolphin knew little about Pokémon Go before seeing his church's middle school pastor surrounded by several boys with phones out last Sunday discovering the new phenomenon that would capture the world's imagination during the coming week. It wouldn't be the last time Dolphin, the executive pastor of Trinity Baptist Church of Yukon, Okla., would see people wandering around the church property staring at smartphones. As a Pokémon Go "gym," the church has become a ...

Bill Nye tours Ark Encounter, hears Gospel from Ken Ham

 
When evolutionist Bill Nye "the science guy" visited a life-size replica of Noah's Ark in northern Kentucky, he wanted to learn how children were reacting to what he has called a danger to science education. By the time he left the Ark Encounter theme park, he had also learned the story of Christ's atoning death on the cross for humanity's sins, Ark Encounter's chief executive, Ken Ham, told Baptist Press, underscoring the park's value as an evangelistic tool. Nye "wanted ...

Diana Davis: Go, mow and glow

 
Here's a wildly successful ministry idea that happened a few weeks ago. Living Faith Indy, a church plant in Indianapolis, loaded a trailer with a riding lawnmower and some push mowers, edgers, blowers and brooms. The group prayed, asking God's direction for where to begin, then hauled the equipment to one of the modest neighborhoods near their church plant. They found a parking place for their trailer and began to go house to house, asking permission to mow each home's ...

Florida Baptist pastor contributes to new NAMB blog

 
Southern Baptist pastors looking to equip their churches in evangelism have a new tool to employ. The North American Mission Board has launched a blog to bring attention to "evergreen" principles that are working in some of the most evangelistic Southern Baptist churches in North America. Church leaders can already find content on a variety of topics related to these principles on the Your Church on Mission blog, including developing an evangelistic culture, encouraging your people to bring guests, engaging ...

Kevin Ezell shares NAMB tools for evangelism focus

 
I understand that Southern Baptists are concerned about baptism numbers and at the North American Mission Board we are as well. That is why at NAMB we are doing everything we can to stir up enough dust to get pastors to see the need to motivate and educate their people on how to share their faith and encourage them to get out there and do it. • Engage24 events: Beginning this fall, NAMB will sponsor a series of Engage24 ...

Muhammad Ali heard Gospel from Billy Graham, Adrian Rogers

 
Billy Graham, Adrian Rogers and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary administrator Dan Dumas are among the Christians who have told of Gospel conversations with the late heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali. Ali, who died June 3 in Scottsdale, Ariz., at age 74, grew up in a Christian family but converted to Islam in the late 1960s. Initially, he was a member of the black nationalist group the Nation of Islam, but in the mid-1970s he, along with the Nation of Islam, converted ...

South Carolina 'Sunburn trailer' offers Gospel witness

 
Headed to the Carolina coast this summer for some sun and surf but also looking for a missions opportunity? Martha Bullard has just the job for you. This summer, as she has for the past seven summers, Bullard, along with volunteers from churches of the Waccamaw Baptist Association, will be manning a "sunburn trailer" in Surfside Beach, S.C. Volunteers at the trailer dole out free sunscreen, aloe gel and water, and they look for opportunities to share the Gospel ...

Ex-drifter knows saving power of Gospel

 
At times, Ellis Brasher still wonders why God kept him alive decades ago when he was hopping from bar to bar, town to town, and jail cell to jail cell, wanting nothing more than another beer, another buzz. Brasher, 83, testifies today to the saving power of the Gospel from his life as a drifter. By his count, he was arrested nearly 50 times across four states, spending time in nine jails. His life was the stuff of outlaw movies: alcohol, hanging ...

Orlando Baptist Association offers training for reaching immigrants

 
Mark Weible, church planting director for the Greater Orlando Baptist Association (GOBA), hopes that one day “Orlando would be known more for Jesus Christ than Mickey Mouse.” In a Feb. 6 seminar hosted by GOBA, Weible pointed to Acts 19:10 to introduce his vision to see every person in Central Florida reached for Christ. And reaching every person in Central Florida will help spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth, he said. Orlando, like most major metropolitan areas ...

Daytona Beach pastor reaches biker community

 
At first glance Jim "Cochise" Powell looks like one of the hundreds of bikers from the Daytona Beach, Fla., area. His white mustache and beard, long hair pulled back into a ponytail, tattooed arms and boots certainly seem to identify him as a biker. But those who know him personally know him as Pastor Cochise Chops or Brother Jim. Powell pastors Set Free Daytona, a church with a mission to reach the biker community in Daytona with the Gospel. Powell ...

Evangelism initiative keyed to small groups

 
The call to biblical evangelism is becoming a person-to-person, small group initiative in Oklahoma as well as a dozen other states. The Connect>1 Evangelism Campaign, created by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, aims to "take the Gospel to every corner of our state by engaging Sunday School classes and small groups in personal evangelism," said Bob Mayfield, BGCO Sunday School specialist. Sunday School or small groups, as the single largest organization in most churches, are integral to the ...

IMB baptisms hit lowest level since 1969

 
Overseas baptisms for 2015 dropped to 54,762 from the 190,957 reported for 2014, according to information submitted by the International Mission Board in response to a request by the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee. Likewise, the number of new churches fell from 13,824 to 3,842 over the same one-year period. The baptism figure represents the lowest level reported in 46 years. A note explaining the declines states the decrease is “due to one large CPM no longer reported” (CPM refers to “church planting movement&...

IMB addresses decreased baptism numbers

 
Decreases in the number of baptisms and new churches reported by International Mission Board missionaries during the past decade reflect changes in data-reporting methods and missions strategy, not a lack of evangelistic ministry. That's the conclusion of a March 21 IMB news release issued in response to observations that overseas baptisms for 2015 are at their lowest level since 1969 -- 54,762, according to the IMB's 2016 Ministry Report to the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee, down from a high of 609,968 reported for 2007. IMB President ...

South Carolina family seeks to reach 'unwanted'

 
Imagine quitting your job, putting your roomy home up for sale, paring down your possessions by way of a yard sale, saying goodbye to family and friends, and moving your family nearly two hours away to set up housekeeping in a singlewide in the middle of a crime-plagued trailer park. Grant and Amber Hinson can't imagine doing anything else. In May 2013, after praying about the move they felt God was preparing them for, Grant and Amber and their two children ...

Texas teenagers lead 5 to Christ at Wendy's restaurant

 
A group of Texas cheerleaders in a crowded Wendy's restaurant near the University of Texas at Arlington wound up with more than fast food one Saturday when they met a group of teens in town for a youth evangelism conference. "We encouraged the [students] to pray for one person to share the Gospel with," said Bobby Worthington, Criswell College associate professor of missions and evangelism who assisted that weekend with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention's (SBTC) Student Evangelism Conference ...

Southern Baptist churches in Texas take part in Harvest America

 
Overflow crowds swelled Arlington's AT&T Stadium for Harvest America, a North Texas evangelistic event months in the making. Following an evening of worship and a call to follow Christ as Savior by California mega-church Pastor Greg Laurie, more than 25,000 professions of faith were reported. Hundreds of thousands in 123 countries also tuned in for the March 6 event via radio, television, Internet stream or remote broadcast at 7,200 host locations, crusade organizers reported, adding that 750 local churches were involved in bringing ...

With his stains removed, Connecticut man returns to the streets

 
David Holland says his single mom raised him right. He went to church and knew about God. But when he got older, he "branched out into different areas." Soon, he was mired in a life of crime and addiction. Between the ages of 21 and 40, Holland estimates he spent eight-plus years incarcerated for short-term sentences on a range of charges, such as cocaine possession with intent to sell and domestic violence. Incarceration, Holland now believes, was God working to rescue him ...

Southwestern Seminary's Men's Game Banquet sees 191 professions of faith

 
Nearly 2,000 men and boys gathered for the Men's Game Banquet on the campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. United by a love for the great outdoors, 191 responded to the Gospel message by surrendering their lives to Jesus Christ. The Feb. 20 banquet in Fort Worth, Texas, featured free barbeque, exhibits, door prizes and speakers Paige Patterson and David Morris, who shared hunting stories regarding some of their most prized trophies. But the clear focus of the evening appeared to be the ...

Fatal shooting, murder charge turned Arkansas man, wife to Christ

 
When John Eric Schmidt was charged with second-degree murder, no one could have known that within a year, not only would the charge be dropped but Schmidt would be celebrating his salvation in Christ. Schmidt, 53, of North Little Rock, Ark., was charged after shooting 32-year-old Chad Johnson during what Pulaski County sheriff's deputies said was a property dispute, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The incident took place in Graves Memorial Baptist Church's parking lot in North Little Rock around 6:25 a....