By Will Hall, Message Editor
DALLAS (LBM)—Sammy Tippit is a soul winner, doing whatever it takes to bring others to Christ and to grow them in their faith.
He continues to do the hard work of door-to-door outreach for one-on-one Gospel conversations, but also is on the cutting edge of technology, using Skype to conduct evangelistic events to remote regions overseas to bring the Good News about Jesus to tens of thousands of lost people.
On top of that, his daily discipleship videos generate 6.5 million views each month, reaching men and women around the world in 10 languages, including English, Punjabi, Arabic and Spanish.
As the newly elected president of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists, Tippit said he hopes to use his influence to revive the focus on evangelism that once thrived among the denomination’s churches and entities.
Tippit told the Baptist Message his worldwide ministry started in Baton Rouge.
“I was saved in 1965 at an evangelistic harvest event at Istrouma Baptist Church and I surrendered to preach two nights later,” he said. “I was a freshman at LSU at the time. My pastor was J. Garland McKee, and I knew nothing about the Bible at the time. I was just this crazy kid out there sharing Jesus, and he said, ‘Son, you need to learn some Bible,” and he encouraged me to go to Louisiana College.
At Louisiana College Tippit made some new acquaintances and reunited with some old friends, including Wayne Jenkins, now the recently retired director of evangelism for Louisiana Baptists.
Tippit said his evangelism via Skype developed organically after Pastor Sadhu Singh, known as “Jolly,” asked Tippit to help him train a group of members from Singh’s church plant, the First Baptist Church of Abohar in Punjab, India.
“I took three weeks, about four nights a week, and I discipled about 40 of his leaders,” Tippit said. “He had started this church and a lot of young people had come to Christ who knew nothing about Christianity.
“Well, after the three weeks, Jolly said, ‘Sammy, I believe we could do an evangelistic event with this.’ So, I said, ‘Let’s try it.’”
So, they tried it and 100 new Christians were added, then a larger event produced a harvest of 400 souls; and, they continued to stretch the envelope in expanding the reach of the technology.
In December 2016 Tippit preached via Skype to a crowd of 10,000, of whom 5,000 gave their hearts to Christ. Since then he has used this technology to preach to audiences of 15,000, 20,000, and, just a month ago to 25,000, with each event producing a harvest of 50 to 60 percent of those present.
The meetings were conducted in partnership with the Northwest India Baptist Association.
Tippit explained the process in context of a recent event in teaching evangelism to seminarians in Pakistan.
“I initiated a call from my office in San Antonio, standing in front of a green screen. My translator in Sweden transmitted a picture we were able to merge online to make it appear we were standing side-by-side,” he shared.
Meanwhile, in Pakistan, courtesy of satellite communications, 75 students watched on a large screen augmented with a sound system, and, because the class was conducted in real time, they were able to participate in a question and answer session following the lesson.
Tippit emphasized that in addition to his partnership with ministries in India and Pakistan to conduct mass crusades to reach others for Christ and as well as smaller evangelistic events to help church planting efforts in remote areas, he also has placed a premium on discipleship through 365 videos meant for daily devotional training.
“Every day we have a new video that goes up in 10 languages and we’re working on three more languages” Tippit said. “We have 6.5 million views every month.”
“Churches could take these, or even the concept if they don’t want to use my videos, and in their area minister into the lives of people in their community – and start seeing people come in,” he said.
“We have something every day that is fresh and new. For a pastor that’s something difficult to do. I spent an entire year creating these things. I’m willing to actually give to any church the whole schmear,” Tippit offered, “and they can put at the tail end of every video, ‘to hear more of this type of message, come visit…’ and put their churches logo and information on it.”
The videos include four emphases:
— 91 days on “How to have a time alone with God in prayer” with interviews of Dave Butts, chairman of the U.S. National Prayer Committee, to start each of the 13 weeks
— 91 days on “How to share Christ with others” with interviews of Wayne Jenkins talking about: prayer and evangelism; the Word of God and evangelism; how to share your testimony and a Gospel presentation; etc., to lead off each of those 13 weeks
— 91 days on “How to mentor others” with interviews of Corey Webb, executive/community pastor with Crosspoint Fellowship Church in Schertz, Texas
— 91 days on “Family life” with interviews of his son, Dave, and daughter-in-law, Kelly, who with their three children were in Liberia conducting vacation Bible schools and other outreach events when the Ebola virus of 2014 -2015 occurred
REVIVING THE SBC
At the recently concluded SBC annual meeting in Dallas, his soul-winning peers elected him as COSBE president, and Tippit said his focus on evangelism will be three-pronged.
“Evangelism should be at the heart of everything we do. It needs to be the starting place for church planting and discipleship,” Tippit underscored. “Evangelism must be at the core of it all, otherwise we are just trading sheep.
“Most people will tell you the purpose of discipleship is ‘to help others grow.’ But if you define what it means to grow, it means to become like Jesus, and Jesus said, ‘The Son of man has come to seek and to save that which is lost,’ “Tippit explained. “So, if you don’t have evangelism as the very center and core of that discipleship, then you’ve missed discipleship.”
Tippit told the Baptist Message he plans to focus on three goals during his COSBE presidency.
He hopes to engage Southern Baptists around the country to help identify potential young evangelists in order to surround them with seasoned evangelists “to train and develop them to have a harvest evangelism ministry.”
He also wants to investigate why evangelistic pastors are not using harvest evangelists in their churches, pointing out a Tennessee Baptist Convention study that showed the state’s top churches for baptisms hold harvest events, “resulting in more than twice as many baptisms as the average church.”
“Why not take these guys that God has gifted, and we have some very gifted and talented evangelists within Southern Baptist life, to make evangelism mainstream in the life of the church?” he asked. Tippit added that he would be announcing, soon, dates for a summit that would bring together known soul-winners among pastors, evangelists and other leaders, to develop a strategy for revitalizing evangelism among Southern Baptists.
Finally, he said he hopes to push for greater use of technology for evangelizing the lost.
“We have tools that are just unbelievable. If the Apostle Paul had the tools we had today, there’s no telling what more he could have done.”
To review Tippit’s daily videos, visit, Facebook.com/SammyTippitMinistries. Tippit’s forthcoming autobiography, “Unashamed,” details his ministry in the French Quarter of New Orleans, the streets of Chicago, as well as around the world, including Romania in the middle of a revolution, Rwanda in the aftermath of genocide and Burundi and Congo during war. A unique feature of his book is that QR codes have been strategically placed throughout the pages allowing readers to use their phones to watch and listen to firsthand accounts of others involved in the specific events.