WARNER ROBINS — The power of preaching, the thrill of song, the hush of prayer, the fellowship of kindred minds, the hospitality of a loving church – those were the marks that typified this year’s evangelism conference.
From the fiery, forceful, fearless preaching of Herb Reavis and the wise, biblical counsel of John Bisagno to the harmonious, inspiring, heart-warming music of The Akins, the Urgency of the Gospel conference was accented by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
Hugh Townsend, associational missionary of Gwinnett Metro Association, explained, “The atmosphere of the evangelism conference created a sense of energy, urgency, and renewal in the hearts of pastors. The faithful preaching of God’s Word and the inspiration of the music provided encouragement, challenge, and conviction.
“This conference led to a renewed passion for ministry and reignited the fire of evangelism. The conviction led us to revisit priorities and to intentionally re-engage in the priority of reaching the lost.
“In addition, the fellowship and networking provided encouragement to the pastors as they realize they are not alone. I have never left an evangelism conference the same. My heart has always been changed and my spirit renewed.”
‘Never lose sight’
Paul Curry Jr., pastor of First Baptist Church of Gordon, testified, “The conference was a blessing to me in many ways. The preachers not only proclaimed the Gospel, but also exhorted us to never lose sight of the power of the Gospel. The Gospel is what unites us and strengthens us, as we go forth to serve our communities with the transformational power than come through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
“It is my prayer that other ministers will see the blessing that comes by participating in these events. Men of God need to experience what a fresh anointing of God [derived from these conferences].”
Derwin Gray, pastor of Transformation Church in Charlotte, was billed as the keynote speaker for the conference. He indicated that Rick Warren had given him some rich words of advice when he said, “Three things destroy pastors: money, sex, and power. This is where we must abide – in the unfailing, life-giving grace and love of King Jesus. Our ministry is the overflow of his ministry of grace to us.”
Dr. Robert Smith of Beeson Divinity School, as usual, in his own inimitable way, combined scholarship and passion to proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ.
Ed Newton, lead pastor at Community Bible Church in San Antonio, and Vince Pittman, pastor of Hope Church in Las Vegas, preached the Gospel with power and passion, but the Georgia Baptist pastors in the lineup of preachers, Frank Cox, Michael Catt, Bill Purvis, and Jeff Crook, were as dynamic as any of the others. In fact, Georgia has some of the finest biblical preachers in the nation.
The answer to every problem
The messages affirmed that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the answer to every problem that confronts our society and every need facing our people.
Reavis may have stated the need for the Gospel best, when he stated, “To show you how bad things are in America, we’ve got to chain the pens to the new member card clipboard on the front row of our churches to keep people from stealing them.”
John Bisagno, former pastor of First Baptist Church in Houston, spoke of the dangers of Calvinism and explained, “If the house is on fire I am not going to stand on the porch pondering the theories of spontaneous combustion. I am going into the house with a water hose to put out the fire.”
The spirit of the meeting was supernal and repeatedly accented with shouts of “amen” and “glory.”
It goes without saying that lives were changed and pastors were challenged and inspired.