Oklahoma Baptists will notice new elements with the Advance Conference this year—the date and location. An event that usually met near the beginning of the year, the Advance Conference will meet March 4-5 at Oklahoma City, St. John’s Missionary, which is the first time for the church to host.
“We are excited about being at St. John’s Missionary,” said Alan Quigley, Oklahoma Baptists associate executive director for church resources. “They have historically been a leader in advancing the Gospel through personal evangelism. It makes sense for us to come and be in one of our strong evangelistic churches.”
Tony Evans, Fred Luter and Shane Pruitt will be among the speakers for the Advance Conference. Evans serves as senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and is a well-known evangelistic speaker. Luter, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, is pastor of New Orleans, La., Franklin Avenue, and Pruitt is a favorite Oklahoma Baptists speaker who serves as the next-gen evangelism director for the North American Mission Board.
Additional speakers will include Oklahoma Baptist pastors who will be announced nearer to the conference.
Quigley mentioned the Advance Conference will have an emphasis on personal evangelism and discipleship with the theme of the conference being “Sent,” based on John 17:18.
“When we are sent, we don’t go on our own authority,” Quigley said. “We don’t go out of our own initiative, but we have been commissioned by a higher authority. We have been sent on mission to advance the Gospel.”
Oklahoma Baptist churches have been effective in being involved in the event evangelism model, Quigley said, but the churches that were the most effective were the ones whose members were equipped to share the Gospel.
“We have had big block parties, big musicals that invited everybody and presented the Gospel very effectively,” he said. “In some ways, you have more people involved in the activity, but few were equipped to engage with the Gospel. We left that to the pastors at those events.”
Quigley pointed out spiritual issues raised following the COVID pandemic. He said many unbelievers were seeking answers.
“The world was asking eternal questions,” he said. “They just weren’t coming to the church to ask those questions because the churches weren’t meeting. They were asking in their workplace and in their neighborhood. The church members who were ‘sent,’ equipped, empowered by their leaders to be ready with an answer, the Gospel, and do personal evangelism—they had an open door to share the Gospel. So many of the churches had significant decisions in baptisms because the world was asking a question.
“Our goal at the Advance Conference is to put before the churches opportunities to train and equip their members to do evangelism through personal witness.”
Visit oklahomabaptists.org/advance for more information on the Advance Conference.