The 2nd Annual Deeper in Christ Conference focused on Evangelism and Outreach. Those who missed the conference missed an excellent opportunity to examine what God desires for Bethlehem Baptist Church to do in order to truly be the “Church with a Vision and a Mission.” The teaching, preaching, and time to fellowship were of great benefit to those who attended.
Here are the highlights.
Rev. Dr. Vernal Simms, Co-Pastor of Mt. Calvary/City of Refuge Church in Harrisburg was the instructor for the classes. Unknown to Rev. Simms, the book he was using for our study, The Autopsy of a Deceased Church by Thom S. Rainer, is our current book for Bible Study. That was God’s confirmation that this was the right teacher and right focus!
Rev. Simms was a resourceful presenter, reminding us that God did not “hire” us to be deacons, and ushers, and choir members. He called us to be witnesses; that is our first priority. The study scripture was Acts 1:8, But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Our witness is not by our own power but through the power of the Holy Spirit. What does this mean for us at Bethlehem?
- Our prime job is the saving of souls.
- In order to save souls we have to build relationships.
- In order to build relationships we have to think outside of the box.
- Whatever we do, the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) has to be our focus.
- We must prioritize, be intentional and remain consistent.
For our Friday Evening Worship, Elder Jayson Davenport, Pastor of Redeem United Church of Jesus Christ Apostolic, brought a dynamic message from Exodus 17:8-13 titled “Not a Hand Out But a Hand Up.” This was a message of encouragement and challenge. It reminded us that when we are supportive of the leadership God has given we will be victorious in defeating the enemy and fulfilling the call He has on our church. Just like Aaron and Hur held up the hands of Moses allowing Joshua and the Israelite army to defeat the Amalekites, so God will bless us if we hold up the arms of our Pastor. When we all put our hands to the work of evangelism and outreach, we will see God move on our behalf.
The Banquet was the culminating event for the conference and what an event it was! Scottie’s Place was beautifully decorated by Sis. Shirley Carter and Sis. Donnie Gibson who also prepared a wonderful meal that was enjoyed by all. The real icing on the cake was the message by our own Min. Shane Moore. He preached “An Effective Work” (John 4:8-10). Min. Moore charged us to do more than talk, more than conference, more than plan. It’s time to work and that work needs to be effective – not self-promoting, not self-seeking but Spirit-led and Christ-centered. Just as the living water Jesus offered the Samaritan woman, our effective work will result in saving souls.
We are blessed that God continues to give Pastor Willford vision for our church. This conference proved to be just what we need for this present time. The question now is, after all the teaching and preaching, what will we do to bring souls to Christ?