The Jan. 25-26, 2016 State Evangelism Conference (SEC) will open with a new feature that will focus on equipping, encouraging and inspiring the work of personal evangelism among senior adults.
The senior adult evangelism session will kick off the SEC from 9 a.m.-Noon, Mon., Jan. 25 at Del City, First Southern.
The overall SEC theme is: “Unashamed,” based on the text of 2 Tim. 1:8, “So do not be ashamed about the testimony of our Lord…”
Mike Napier, Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) personal evangelism specialist, said, “Older adults often see themselves as not being on the front lines when it comes to evangelism. To reach Oklahoma with the Gospel, this needs to be corrected. One of the steps to making this correction is the senior adult evangelism session.”
Napier said when Sam Dyer, pastor of Heavener, First, heard about the session, he was excited, and said, “(It) Seems like we have given up on winning souls. Getting our senior adults on mission is vital. The younger crowd (20-30’s) is hungry to hear from someone who knows. Getting our older adults burdened for souls and a broken heart for souls is a part of soul winning. This is a great idea.”
When asked about equipping, encouraging and inspiring senior adults in evangelism, Alvin Reid, professor of evangelism & student ministry/Bailey Smith chair of evangelism at Southeastern Seminary, said, “The 20-30 year olds are largely disconnected from their grandparents, and they have a hunger for relationships with grandparent-age people. If pastors are interested in reaching this crowd, they need to unleash the older generation to help reach them.
“They (20-30’s) may not be able to verbalize it, but they desire to be mentored by the older generation. Titus 2:3-5 is huge for the younger generation.”
“Empowering older adults to reach out to the younger generation as they go through life is a major part of what we will be focusing on during this year’s senior adult evangelism session,” Napier added. “We have visited with a variety of people about the senior adult session. One of them was Wendell Lang, pastor of Yukon, Surrey Hills, who said, ‘Evangelism knows no age limits! I am excited to see the emphasis at the upcoming State Evangelism Conference on encouraging our senior adults to share the Gospel.’”
Napier said the senior adult session will have two equipping times during the general session, as well as preaching and singing. Sharing messages will be Jim Henry and Rob Zin, along with Dennis Swanberg. Worship will be led by Masters Voice. Lunch will be provided by Oklahoma Baptist Disaster relief.
“Everyone is invited to join us for lunch, with a suggested donation of $2 per person. If more money comes in than the total lunch cost, all of the excess money will go to the Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief,” Napier said.
When Ernie Perkins, evangelist, Oklahoma Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists member, and retired Director of Missions, heard of the change he responded, “I was privileged to be a part of senior adult evangelism conferences in another state. This was a watermark for me. I look forward to God doing great things in Oklahoma through this.”
Likewise, Otis Clayton, director of missions for Frisco Association, declared, “Yes! We are on to something here, let’s do it! We need to encourage our senior adults in evangelism, and release them to do the work.”
Baptist Village Communities president Bill Pierce is encouraging every senior adult and every Baptist Village resident to attend.
“The Monday morning session is going to be a great time in the Lord,” Pierce said. “Studies show that Baby Boomers are receptive to the Gospel as they think about the future. Let’s become equipped and re-equipped to share the Gospel. Senior adults led the way in their teen and young adult years, and I am confident that they stand ready to lead the way again.”