Recent statistics show 93 percent—or thirteen out of every fourteen—Native Americans living in Oklahoma are unchurched.
At the recent Oklahoma Indian Evangelism Conference (IEC), leaders were energized and equipped to share the Gospel among the uncharged in the state in order to reach the unchurched and lost.
IEC, which is sponsored by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) and took place March 10-11 at Oklahoma City, Central, featured memorable times of worship, preaching, equipping times and fellowship, according to Emerson Falls, BGCO Native American Ministries Specialist.
The IEC kicked off with various breakout sessions, and topics included the following: “Evangelism Resources,” “An Evangelism Process,” “Reaching Children and Parents,” “Reaching Youth,” and “Reaching Young Adults.”
“The breakout sessions were all full, and people seemed especially energized and eager to know how to share the Gospel,” said Falls. “Each person that attended the breakout sessions walked away better equipped to share their faith. Attendees of the ‘Evangelism Resources’ session, led by the BGCO’s Mike Napier, received an evangelism cube to use.”
During the evening session, two messages were preached. The first came from Dustin Terry, a seminary student at Southern Seminary, who preached about reaching new generations for Christ. Junior Platt, pastor of Cushing, First Indian, encouraged people to be bold in sharing the Gospel, even when one feels intimidated.
The following morning, two additional sermons were delivered by Mat McIntosh and Mike Keahbone. McIntosh serves as pastor of Norman, Blue Lakes and spoke about reaching the lost people among us, while Keahbone, pastor of Oklahoma City, Cherokee Hills, preached about reaching the hurting with Jesus Christ.
Throughout the event, Dylan Mateo, a member of Oklahoma City, Glorieta, led in worship through music. In addition, the world-renowned Native Praise choir performed. The choir, which was formed in 1999, praises God in English and multiple Native American languages and has sung at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting, Indian Falls Creek, the Baptist World Alliance and many other churches and notable events.
According to Falls, there are 188 BGCO-affiliated Native American churches in Oklahoma, and he believes the conference will help infuse evangelism into the daily and weekly life of these churches.
“It’s too easy for us to get comfortable being around only the believers we know in our own churches,” Falls said. “We sometimes meet each week for worship and are satisfied, but there is a whole mission field around us needing to hear the Good News of Jesus.”
One of the 160-plus people to attend IEC was Lit McIntosh, pastor of Oklahoma City, Glorieta. He said, “The event went well, and I was especially encouraged to hear the younger pastors preach. God is still in the business of calling and raising up men to preach the Word.”
Falls expressed gratitude to the host church. He said, “I’m grateful to the people of Central Baptist for hosting the event, and to all who took part in the event.
“It is my prayer that this memorable event will be a springboard to evangelism among Native peoples in this state.”
With a move of the Spirit of God, as well as Christians being activated by events like IEC, the 93 percent of unchurched among Native Americans in Oklahoma will be reached for Christ.