I just got back Tuesday afternoon from spending time with the youth group from a church in East Texas. My family and I stayed with them two nights and I had the joy of preaching in the nightly worship service on Sunday and Monday evening. It was a great time! God did some amazing things; God spoke to the hearts of the youth, the adult sponsors, and the guest preacher!
The church is a typical Southern Baptist Church that averages less than two-hundred on Sunday morning. They had thirty-nine youth and eight sponsors that came to camp. The youth group is led by an amazing couple who give hours of their time each week just loving on these teenagers. As I watched them lead and interact with the teenagers it was absolutely obvious the love they had for each one of them, the desire they had to see them come to know Jesus, and grow in their love for Him.
The Pastor’s Task Force on SBC Evangelistic Impact & Declining Baptisms recently released its report to the SBC. You can find the report and its sobering realities here. One statistic that stood out was that 60% of Southern Baptist churches reported that they baptized zero youth in the last reporting year. If our number of churches is correct that is over 27,000 churches that went an entire year and saw no teenagers come to Christ and follow the Lord in baptism.
The church where this volunteer couple pours hours into loving these teenagers, sharing the Gospel with them, and teaching them the truths of God’s Word that they might walk in them saw seven teenagers come to Christ last year and several more already this year. What’s my point? The Gospel still changes lives! The simple, true message that Jesus saves can grip the heart of an individual and draw them to Him! I love this couple and their heart for teenagers and I pray God would multiply their number in churches throughout our land. Ministers (basically volunteer by the way) that just have a heart to see people know Jesus, grow in Jesus, and tell others about Jesus.
We do not need a new strategy, a new program, and certainly not a new message. We just need people that are enough in love with Jesus that they are burdened to see others know Jesus, and are bold through the power of the Holy Spirit to share the glorious good news of the Gospel. I am thankful that there are so many in the Southern Baptist Convention and throughout other denominations that still believe in the life-changing power of Gospel!