NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) – Drawing from the example of Samson’s loss of strength in Judges 16, Southern Baptist Convention President Bobby Welch warned against squandering the opportunities God has given the convention.
By Erin Curry Roach
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) – Drawing from the example of
Samson’s loss of strength in Judges 16, Southern Baptist Convention
President Bobby Welch warned against squandering the opportunities God
has given the convention.
“There is great consequence in the traumatic tragedy
of unfulfilled potential,” Welch told Executive Committee members in
Nashville, Tenn., Feb. 20.
He pointed to verse 20, which says Samson “awoke
from his sleep and thought, ‘I’ll go out as before and shake myself
free.’ But he did not know that the Lord had left him.” Samson had lost
his hair and his strength, and the Philistines were upon him.
“That must be one of the saddest circumstances
imaginable to be out flailing away and the wind of God [is] off your
life,” Welch said, adding that a wonderful comeback happened in verse
22 when Samson’s hair began to grow again.
Welch, pastor of First Baptist Church in Daytona
Beach, Fla., set forth three ways to “rev up a rundown romance with
reaching people” for Christ.
A couple of weeks prior, Welch stood on a blistery
cold hilltop in Alabama with a group of church members looking at the
smoldering ashes of their building. Their church had been one of 10
Baptist churches burned by arson in recent weeks, and Welch said those
members looked as if they were standing vigil over a sick person in a
He took a short, silver-haired woman by the hand and
discovered she had attended the church for more than 70 years.
“Then, like a laser, her little blue eyes just
locked onto me and she set her jaw, and she said, ‘But I’ll tell you
this, Bro. Bobby. We’re going to build back, and we’re going to build
bigger and we’re going to build better. The devil can’t whip us,’”
On that day, Welch pondered how the convention can rev up a rundown romance with reaching people.
The solution, Welch said, is for fresh fire to fall
on the convention, and he believes it’s already falling in the form of
the “Everyone Can” Kingdom Challenge for evangelism, which has put an
emphasis on witnessing to, winning and baptizing more people than ever
before in the convention.
Wherever he goes, Welch said, people ask him how the
effort to baptize 1 million people is going. It’s too early in the year
to project the final count, he said, but one thing is already clear.
“Real, effective help is coming out of state
conventions and associations that I’ve never seen before – real,
dedicated, effective help on the issue of getting before the people,
witnessing, winning and baptizing,” he said.
The second component in the plan to rev up a rundown
romance with reaching people, Welch said, is to get out in the field.
“Change the conversation, then direct the discussion
and you’ll always get more of what you’re looking for,” he said. “If
evangelism and discipleship is the main thing, why don’t you talk more
about it? Why don’t we urge it more? … The more we do that, the more
we will get it done for the glory of God.”
The third way Southern Baptists can rev up a rundown
romance with reaching people, Welch said, is to get out in front and
stay there. In other words, get on with it.
“That’s what leaders have to do. We have to get out
front and stay there. That’s not always the easiest place in the world,
but that’s where we need to be and where we’ve got to go,” he said.
“And this is the time to do it.”