More than 1,300 Georgia Baptists attend this year’s Called to Witness evangelism conferences


TIFTON, Ga. — Amid a secular culture prone to reject the gospel, Christians must be more persistent than ever to fearlessly proclaim the name of Jesus, preachers told Georgia Baptists who gathered Monday at Northside Baptist Church in Tifton for the final day of a two-day evangelism conference.

“In the time and place and culture we live in, there is a growing conspiracy against the name of Jesus, but we must not be afraid or ashamed to proclaim who He is and what He has done,” said H.B. Charles, pastor at Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. “While we discuss how we share this good news, I just want to remind us why we share this good news, because there is salvation in no one else but Jesus.”

More than 1,300 pastors and other Christian leaders have gathered for the Called to Witness evangelism conferences, which have been held at locations across the state over the past month. The latest conference, being held at Northside Baptist Church in Tifton, is scheduled to run through noon on Monday.

Charles, who also preached in the first of this year’s evangelism conferences, built his message on Scriptures that proclaim Jesus as the only way to heaven.

“If our greatest problem self-esteemed, God could have sent a therapist. If our greatest problem was education, God could have sent a professor,” Charles said. “If our greatest problem was government, God could have sent a politician. If our biggest problem was money, God could have sent an economist. … But our greatest problem is sin, so God sent a Savior.”

Georgia Baptist Mission Board Executive Director W. Thomas Hammond Jr. said the annual evangelism conferences play an important role in inspiring the state’s 1.4 million Georgia Baptists to reach out to the estimated 7 million people in the state who don’t go to church. They made gains in that work over the past year, with Georgia Baptist churches nearly 21,000 baptisms, the largest number since 2016.

That number represents a more than 30% increase in baptisms in the past year and a more than 90% increase since 2020, said Steve Foster, a Georgia Baptist Mission Board evangelism consultant.

Matt Queen, evangelism professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, urged attendees to courageously share the gospel by overcoming the fear of failure or rejection.

“Evangelism can be scary sometimes, but I want you know it doesn’t have to be,” Queen said. “If you know enough of the gospel to be saved by it, then you know enough of the gospel to share it. What someone has told you, you can tell someone else.”

Queen said even the Apostle Paul knew what it meant to be scared, acknowledging as much when he told the Corinthians that he came to them with fear and trembling. But the Lord strengthened Paul by reminding him that He was with him.

“If you want boldness in sharing the gospel of Christ, you have to trust in the presence of Christ,” Queen said.

Over the past year, courageous Georgia Baptists are seeing signs of spiritual revival  in communities across the state with huge numbers of people making commitments to Christ in evangelistic outreaches. One of the largest instances was in October when some 1,600 people responded to the gospel during a four-day crusade in the south Georgia town of Baxley.