By Philip Timothy, Managing Editor
BATON ROUGE – ‘I Will.’
Defined in the dictionary, ‘I will’ means one deliberately chooses or decides upon a course of action.
It is exactly what Wayne Jenkins, director of evangelism and church growth for the Louisiana Baptist Convention, hopes participants will do at next year’s 2014 Evangelism Conference.
“The five sessions are really broken into five parts,” Jenkins said. “I will be intentional. I will intercede. I will invest. I will invite. I will impart the word to any and all I see. We will ask people to write down a person’s name and make a commitment. When you combine all of this, you realize this is what the conference is about.”
Jenkins, though, hopes the theme and the pledges will grow legs and be used in churches after the conference.
“Everybody who enters the conference will receive a booklet,” Jenkins said. “It will contain 10 pages and five commitments and it is our hope churches will use it. A pastor can order additional copies from the printer or he can use just the outer cover and include his own special messages. Either way, this will give a pastor a good five week series.”
The two-day event, which takes place at Istrouma Baptist Church in Baton Rouge on Jan. 27-28, not only presents a series of powerful messages but an equally powerful lineup of speakers.
Headlining the list is Fred Luter, President of the Southern Baptist Convention and Pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, and former Southern Baptist Convention President Johnny Hunt, Pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga.
They will be joined by Don Wilton, pastor of First Baptist Church, Spartanburg, S.C., Tony Nolan, TNT Ministries in Canton, Ga., Fred Lowery, retired pastor of First Baptist Bossier City, Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Director David Hankins, Brad Bennett of Real Encounter out of Springfield, Mo., and Burl Cain, warden of Angola State Penitentiary.
“Each session will become a theme in itself,” Jenkins said. “Burl’s message will be on investing in the inner city. What he has done at Angola with those prisoners is nothing short of amazing. He will talk about churches adopting or calling these former prisoners, (more than 200 inmates have graduated from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s Angola program since its inception), as associate pastors, who will work in the inner city.
“Don will speak about investing in people and Johnny about investing in another church,” Jenkins continued. “You see we will highlight the five sessions with the speakers.”
In addition to the outstanding speaking lineup, the conference will also feature outstanding praise and worship led by Charles Billingsley, worship leader at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va. The massed choirs of Istrouma Baptist, Jefferson Baptist, Greenwell Springs and Parkview Baptist will join Billingsley. Baton Rouge Baptist Community Choir will also perform on Monday evening.
“The worship is going to be outstanding and Matt (Matt Tullos, the LBC’s Communications Team Production Manager) has created five dramas for us,” Jenkins said.
Perhaps the biggest highlight of the conference will come when Yangbin Tong, a Chinese student at LSU and a former atheist, give his testimony though a translator.
“He is living proof how others can intercede in someone’s life,” Jenkins said. “A number of students at LSU’s BCM knew him, knew he was an atheist and constantly prayed for him. They constantly invited him to come to the BCM until he finally accepted their invitation. He started coming on a regular basis and they were able to share the Gospel with him and one day he gave his life to Christ. He has such a powerful, powerful testimony.”
For more information, go to www.lbc.org.