The apostle Paul leveraged some of his final words to exhort young Timothy, “Do the work of an evangelist” (2 Timothy 4:5, ESV). The work of evangelism—Gospel work was central to Paul’s ministry, and he understood its primacy in Timothy’s ministry as well. Paul would likely give modern churches the same charge: do the work of an evangelist.
On Tuesday, April 25, 2023, nearly 50 church leaders from the Southeast Region gathered at Bethel Baptist Church in Yorktown for a day of evangelism training led by SBC of Virginia’s executive director, Dr. Brian Autry. Pastors of established SBCV churches sat next to pastors of prospective SBCV churches, lay leaders, church planters, local evangelists, and others. The day included encouraging prayer and edification times and powerful teaching from Autry, based on Timothy Beougher’s book, Invitation to Evangelism. At one point, the group gathered to pray for specific unbelievers.
The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 articulates the believer’s responsibility for evangelism: “It is the duty of every child of God to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle, and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ” (Baptist Faith and Message 2000, Article XI).
Pastors face an ever-growing list of pressing items in their email inboxes and across their desks. Staff issues, teaching preparation, and counseling needs in the church family all call for the pastor’s attention—and rightly so. Lay leaders give their time and energy to care for the church property and to volunteer in the church’s many ministries—and rightly so. But on this April day in Yorktown, these church leaders took time out of their schedules to refocus on the foundational task of evangelism.
Jesus said to his disciples, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19, ESV). As we follow Jesus, we have the joyful responsibility of evangelizing and making disciples as we see the Word increase and multiply.
Imagine what God might do through you in the coming months if you choose to follow Him in sharing the Gospel to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). ■