Many conferences provide helpful information, but organizers of the REACH Evangelism Conference want more for Kentucky Baptist pastors and church leaders to want more. The prayer, planning and preparation of the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s annual state evangelism conference is aimed at action. That is, equipping pastors and church leaders to share the gospel and to work with their churches to do the same.
The conference is set for March 16-17 at Walnut Street Baptist Church in Louisville. Nearly two dozen speakers are scheduled for the main stage and breakout sessions. Speakers will include current Southern Baptist Convention Executive Director Ronnie Floyd; Bill Fay, creator of “Share Jesus Without Fear,” and Nik Ripken, missionary, author and authority on Christians facing persecution.
Todd Gray, KBC executive director-treasurer, believes the conference is important for Kentucky Baptist pastors and church leaders because of the way evangelism conferences have affected him in the past. “I remember attending a gathering that had some similarities to REACH as God moved to deal with my lack of intentional evangelism.
“I actually got up, left the service and went to a local convenience store where I stood for the next hour or more and shared the gospel. The clerk at the store began attending the church I was attending, was baptized as a follower of Christ, and remained an active member of that congregation,” Gray recounted.
“I would love to hear stories of that nature multiplied in the lives of those in attendance at the REACH Evangelism Conference,” he said.
One of the key speakers at the 2020 conference is Dean Inserra, author of “Unsaved Christian.” Inserra once felt his calling was lesser than those who were trying to reach the unreached western or norther portions of the United States. Inserra felt called to the Bible belt. After a short time in ministry, he realized the impact of cultural Christianity and the real challenge that was ahead of him.
He says he wants to help pastors and church leaders learn to navigate the new culture of the Bible belt where so many know about the gospel, but so few truly know its saving power.
“I want people to understand their mission field,” Inserra said. He’s working to help Christians in the Bible belt realize the local mission field is vastly different than it was just a few years ago. Once they come to an understanding of it, there’s hope it can be reached for Christ.
“We have thought unbelievers in our communities and, even in our churches, are Christians who aren’t serious about their faith,” he said. When in reality, he believes “they’re actually lost people who need to be reached.”
Inserra says he’ll use his time at the REACH conference to help people think through what the gospel is and what it is not, then be able to go back to their local communities and make an impact.
Gray believes the 2020 conference features one of the best speaker lineups that has ever been featured at the state evangelism conference. “There is not another gathering in Kentucky that comes anywhere close to the quality of speakers focused on helping Kentucky Baptists reach Kentucky for Christ,” said Gray.
The Jason Lovins Band will lead music at the conference. The folksy band, with roots in the Ashland area, received a warm reception at the 2018 Hope for the Mountains event in Pikeville.
Gray will lead a pre-conference training event where attendees will learn how to do door-to-door evangelism and then take to Louisville-area neighborhoods for hands-on training. The pre-conference event begins at 2 p.m. EDT on Monday, March 16.
The opening session of Reach begins at 6 p.m. EDT on Monday, March 16. The conference concludes by 4 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, March 17.
For more information and to register, visit kybaptist.org/reach. A special discount rate for hotel accommodations can be found at the website.
Brandon Porter is communications director of the KBC and editor of the Western Recorder.