LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) – A major evangelistic initiative is now underway within the Kentucky Baptist Convention that leaders hope will energize Christians to tell others about Jesus.
KBC Executive Director Paul Chitwood formally launched the “Gospel Conversation Challenge” in his address to Kentucky Baptist messengers at the organization’s annual meeting in Louisville on Tuesday.
“The goal for all SBC churches is 1 million gospel conversations over the next 12 months,” Chitwood said. “The GC Challenge, as it’s being called, invites every church to set a goal for the number of gospel conversations and post that goal on the GC Challenge website at gcchallenge.com. You can also post a video about your most recent gospel conversation on the site.”
The goal is to get people to think intentionally about sharing the gospel by looking for opportunities to strike up conversations with unchurched people. The initiative is the brainchild of the North American Mission Board with help from LifeWay Christian Resources, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee and state-level Baptist leaders.
“God has not saved us and transferred us to heaven,” Chitwood said. “He has saved us and left us here to share the life-giving gospel with those who are still lost from Him and His family. Like us, they need Jesus.”
Chitwood said he’s grateful for two deacons from the Baptist church in his little mountain town who went out knocking on doors looking for opportunities to share Christ.
“I’m thankful they made it to 210 Provins Street, to a rented house where a single father was raising three boys on his own,” Chitwood said, adding that the visit paved the way for him, his father and two brothers to come to know Christ.
“God used those gospel conversations to save me,” he said. “And I know God wants to save others.”
Chitwood said Baptist churches in Kentucky came together 180 years ago in a cooperative effort to reach their state and the world for Christ. For them it might have seemed a nearly impossible challenge, but, he said, they had the Bible which stated clearly: “What is impossible with man is possible with God” (Matthew 18:27).
“So, in an effort to do the impossible, the Kentucky Baptist Convention was created by churches, for churches, to help churches reach Kentucky and the world for Christ,” Chitwood said.”
Chitwood said Kentucky Baptists are working hard to spread the gospel while at the same time standing up for children in a culture where far too many of them are being neglected and abused. He brought Kentucky’s adoption and foster care czar Dan Dumas on stage to talk about his work in helping to reform the state’s broken children’s services programs. Dumas has been leading a review of the adoption and foster care system and will make recommendations to Gov. Matt Bevin and lawmakers.
Chitwood also focused on the need to protect church members from violence.
“We all grieve over the horrific tragedy that unfolded in Sutherland Springs, Texas less than 2 weeks ago,” he said. “But what few people realize is that, over the past 3 years, there have been approximately 700 incidents in churches and faith-based organizations in the U.S. where deadly force was used. Most of them don’t make the national news headlines so we are left believing that what happened at First Baptist of Sutherland Springs has hardly ever happened anywhere else.”
Chitwood said nearly 70 people were killed in the year leading up to the tragedy in Texas.
“I want you to know KBC serves our churches in the area of church security,” he said. “Each of our regional consultants are prepared to meet with the appropriate persons from your church to offer our help. We are also offering a security training event for churches on Saturday, March 24.”
In closing his report, Chitwood asked Kentucky Baptists to be praying for a Harvest Crusade that will be held in Pikeville next year in conjunction with the 2018 KBC annual meeting.
“Pray for the churches who will be working together in the planning process,” he said. “Pray for God to help us draw the net for the harvest. Pray for the lost in Pike County and the surrounding counties that God would use this effort to bring many of them to saving faith.”