By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
ALEXANDRIA (LBM) — Pastor Jeff Ginn stood before Istrouma Baptist Church in Baton Rouge in March and challenged every member to pray for and share Christ with one person in 2019.
His congregation wholeheartedly responded to and embraced the “Who’s Your One?” evangelistic strategy and, by the end of the year, saw many come to a relationship with Christ, including more than 90 who were baptized, an all-time single-year high for the 100-year-old congregation that averages around 2,000 in Sunday morning worship attendance.
Ginn hopes to equip others with resources to carry out the initiative when Istrouma Baptist hosts the Who’s Your One Tour and evangelism training, Jan. 26-27.
The training precedes the annual Louisiana Baptist Evangelism Conference (ECON), Jan. 27-28, which will be held at the First Baptist Church in Lafayette.
“We are so excited about hosting this event,” Ginn told the Baptist Message. “I know that God will challenge us all to be more intentional in praying for others and sharing the Good News with them. We implemented the ‘Who’s Your One’ strategy at Istrouma and, to my knowledge, we baptized more people in 2019 than in any other year of our 100-year-existence. One key to evangelistic effectiveness is marshalling God’s people to engage. This is a tool to help that happen.”
Conference leaders hope combining the two events will better equip Louisiana Baptists with the necessary tools to reach individuals with the Gospel in the state. The Who’s Your One Tour begins at 6 p.m. Jan. 26 and ends in time for participants to attend the first session of ECON, which begins at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 27.
“The combination of the Who’s Your One Tour and ECON maximizes our ability to bring some of the best leaders in the nation to Louisiana to equip and encouraging church members and staff in evangelism and disciple-making,” said Keith Manuel, Louisiana Baptists evangelism and church growth team director. “These three days may be the catalyst for spiritual renewal that many of our churches are seeking.”
WHO’S YOUR ONE?
The event at Istrouma Baptist will feature a Sunday evening rally with Johnny Hunt, senior vice president of evangelism and leadership for the North American Mission Board.
The following morning, participants may attend evangelistic workshops designed for pastors, church staff and lay leaders.
While the tour is free, registration is required to attend the Monday morning workshops.
The rally also will include worship led by the Jason Lovins Band, a Christian contemporary band from Ashland, Kentucky.
In early 2019, NAMB and Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear launched the Who’s Your One initiative to encourage and equip pastors with resources that can be used to challenge church members to focus on reaching one lost person.
According to the Annual Church Profile database, Southern Baptist congregations baptized 246,442 people in 2018, a 3.02 percent decline from the 254,122 baptisms reported in 2017.
To register for the Monday morning session, visit whosyourone.com.
The first two sessions of ECON on Jan. 27 will include messages by Steve Horn, Louisiana Baptists executive director; Philip Robertson, pastor of Philadelphia Baptist Church with campuses in Deville and Alexandria, Luke Hockenjos, an evangelist from Haughton, and Chip Luter, pastor of the Sulphur Springs campus of Idlewild Baptist Church in Tampa, Florida.
Prior to Luter’s message that will take place during the final session of the night, students will gather at the church’s youth building at 5:30 p.m. for a pizza party and entertainment.
Student Night will emphasize reaching the lost souls of the next generation and build on the challenge “to share Christ with others” presented in November during the 2019 Youth Evangelism Celebration in Alexandria. Brandon Lewis, Louisiana Baptists youth ministry strategist, is praying that some of the students who attended YEC will invited their friends to ECON or one of the simulcast parties being hosted at satellite locations throughout the state.
“We’re excited to have Chip Luter as our speaker at ECON Student Night,” Lewis said. “God has used Chip in powerful ways we believe this is a great opportunity for students and adults to hear the Gospel, respond to the Gospel, and be inspired to share the Gospel with their friends.”
Organizers are encouraging churches unable to travel to Lafayette to host a live stream of Luter’s message as a way to broaden the geographic reach of this evangelistic event.
The broadcast will begin at 7 p.m. Churches may log onto louisianabaptists.org/livestream to find instructions for access.
Last year, numerous churches hosted rallies via livestream.
The remaining sessions of ECON will be streamed live over the Internet as well, and each message will be downloadable soon after the original broadcast by using louisianabaptists.org/econ.
The final day of ECON will feature James Jenkins, Louisiana Baptists director of church planting, David Burton, founder of David Burton Ministries in Orange Park, Florida, Chad Williams, a former Navy SEAL and currently a Christian speaker, Frank Pomeroy, pastor of First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and Hunt.
At 1 p.m. Tuesday, Williams will also be the keynote speaker at the annual Senior Adult Luncheon which is being catered by the Petroleum Club in Lafayette.
The praise and worship lineup includes the Jason Lovins Band, Veritas, a quartet from Franklin, Tennessee, and Kate Standford, an artist from Baton Rouge. All sessions will be livestreamed at louisianabaptists.org.
The conference also will feature breakout sessions and the senior adult luncheon featuring Williams, both on Jan. 28.
For more information about ECON, visit LouisianaBaptists.org/ ECON.