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Evangelism tips highlighted at REACH conference


HOPKINSVILLE—In a new approach to the annual REACH Evangelism Conference, the Kentucky Baptist Convention hosted the event in four different locations across the commonwealth during the month of March.

Myriah Snyder

Alvin Reid addresses attendees at REACH in Hopkinsville.

"What freaks you out?" Alvin Reid, senior professor of evangelism and student ministry at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, asked attendees in Hopkinsville at Edgewood Baptist Church on March 20.

"All of us freak out about something," he continued. "Some things we ought to freak out about," deeming a zombie apocalypse as a legitimate time.

In Reid's key text, Acts 17, Paul "freaked out over the idolatry," Reid said. "We should freak out over the idolatry in America. We should freak out over the lostness in Kentucky and North America and the world. It should freak us out that there are people all around us that if their heart stopped beating and their pulse stopped working, they would certainly be found ready to meet God but unprepared for all eternity.

"That should freak us out!" he exclaimed. "But why does sharing the gospel freak us out?"

Reid shared the Apostle Paul's approach to sharing the gospel from Acts 17.

• He started with them.

• He started at the beginning with the Creator.

• He noted that they were unique.

• He pointed out their error.

• He told them the good news.

• He called them to respond.

Steve Ayers, pastor of Hillvue Heights Church in Bowling Green, spoke on the power of the Holy Spirit in evangelism. "You will not share the gospel without the power of the Holy Spirit," he said.

"Evangelism is natural," Ayers said. "Let me tell you something about evangelism, I have found when people genuinely get saved, they genuinely tell others."

He continued, "There is a reason we do not share the Gospel. It's not because we don't care. The reason we do not share the Gospel is because we're under the deception that God created us to be comfortable."

However, "When you're uncomfortable for Jesus, you'll always be comforted," Ayers assured attenders.

Other speakers for the evening included Vance Pittman, pastor of Hope Church in Las Vegas and a testimony from Jeremy Atwood, senior pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Glasgow.

Todd Deaton

Todd Gray, left, leader of the KBC Evangelism and Church Growth team, leads a panel discussion with Steve Ayers, center, and Timothy Beougher during the REACH conference in Florence.

Reid and Ayers also participated in a panel discussion about evangelism.

REACH University was held throughout the afternoon with breakout sessions for student evangelism by Steve Coleman, evangelism for women by Shelly Johns, and Evangelism 101 by Doug Williams.

Reid, author of "Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out," spoke on the topic and also "Evangelism the way you were born to do it" during his breakout session.

He was keynote speaker for the KBC's Evangelistic Leadership Seminar hosted by Warren Association of Baptists the following day. There, he gave an overview of the principles of gospel conversations from his book and answered questions pertinent to evangelistic leadership in a church setting.

Todd Deaton

Doug Williams, strategist for the KBC Missions Mobilization team, leads a breakout session on leading church members in outreach activities at a REACH Conference in Florence. Williams led a session on Evangelism 101 in Hopkinsville.

The North Region conference was held at Union Baptist Church in Union on March 13; the East Region, at Rose Hill Church in Ashland; the West Region, at Edgewood Church in Hopkinsville; and the South Region, at Main Street Church in Williamsburg.

Speakers for other locations varied but included Timothy Beougher, Mark Bishop, Travis Freeman, Jay Hardwick, Johnny Hunt and T.C. Taylor.

For more information on evangelism training from the Kentucky Baptist Convention, visit www.kybaptist.org/stories/evangelism,2927. (WR)

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