Georgia Baptists to encourage evangelism and mission at Middle Georgia conference

Church planter, pastor, researcher and author Ed Stetzer will be one of the speakers at the Georgia Baptist Mission Board’s Reach Evangelism Conference Jan. 29-30 in Warner Robins. Stetzer will also have a church planter’s “lunch and learn” luncheon during the event.
Church planter, pastor, researcher and author Ed Stetzer will be one of the speakers at the Georgia Baptist Mission Board’s Reach Evangelism Conference Jan. 29-30 in Warner Robins. Stetzer will also have a church planter’s “lunch and learn” luncheon during the event. Special to The Telegraph

The Georgia Baptist Mission Board is inviting pastors and church leaders to attend a free evangelism conference Jan. 29-30 in Warner Robins.

Organizers said the gathering will feature speakers experienced in practical matters congregations face as they minister to their communities and reach others for Christ, whether their churches are large or small, urban or rural.

“This is our Reach Evangelism Conference and it’s the main event this year — the only one like it,” said Scott Smith, an evangelism consultant and organizer of the event along with the Georgia Baptist Mission Board’s Evangelism and Church Revitalization Department.

“We’re happy to bring our statewide evangelism conference to Warner Robins again this year hosted at Central Baptist Church,” he said. “This will be two days of inspiration, equipping and worship geared toward pastors, their spouses, church leaders and lay leaders but it’s open to the public. It’s free with no need to register — just come.”

Smith said there is one conference segment that does require registration: a luncheon Jan. 30 that requires a $5 preregistration online or onsite as space remains available.

“We’re excited about the two days and all our speakers with the experience and encouragement they’ll bring but we’re especially looking forward to the luncheon geared toward church planting and church planters with Ed Stetzer,” Smith said. “There will be a question and answer time with Ed I think will be practical and helpful for those planting or moving toward planting churches. I’m expecting we’ll get into day-to-day issues people are facing and get real-world input. The luncheon is titled ‘How to Plant a Movement, And Not Just a Church.’”

Stetzer is a pastor, church planter, church revitalizer, author and speaker who left his post last year as executive director of LifeWay Research for the newly created Billy Graham Chair of Church, Mission and Evangelism at Wheaton College and to serve as executive director of the Billy Graham Center.

He is a contributing editor for “Christianity Today,” columnist for “Outreach Magazine” and frequently interviewed by USAToday and CNN. He is executive editor of “The Gospel Project” curriculum used weekly by one million-plus individuals. Stetzer is also executive editor of “Facts & Trends Magazine,” a Christian leadership magazine with a circulation of more than 70,000. His books include titles like “Comeback Churches,” “Planting New Churches in a Postmodern Age,” “Finish the Mission: Bringing the Gospel to the Unreached and Unengaged,” “Subversive Kingdom: Living as Agents of Gospel Transformation” and “Compelled by Love: The Most Excellent Way to Missional Living.”

Stetzer is also interim pastor of Moody Church in Chicago. He told The Telegraph in an email the conference comes at a crucial moment.

“We are at a key moment and our witness (for Christ) is at stake,” he said. “Showing and sharing the love of Jesus is always essential to our work and witness. I hope people will be encouraged, for sure, but also informed so they can take action. We really want to give practical teaching to help pastors and church leaders have a greater gospel impact.”

Stetzer said he was particularly hopeful the luncheon would bring practical help and insight and said, “We plan to help church planters do the work more effectively and with greater impact.”

As well as registering for the luncheon at the conference website, pre-conference resources are also available there.

Johnny Ellison is pastor at Green Acres Baptist Church in Warner Robins. He has been encouraging others to attend the conference via personal contact and social media.

“My draw for attending is really two-fold,” he said. “One is knowledge of some of the particular speakers like H.B. Charles, who is a great expounder of scripture and Bill Purvis from Columbus, who is a good friend and has tremendous insight and ability regarding leadership.” Ellison said the second draw is hearing Stetzer and attending the luncheon.

“His book ‘Comeback Churches’ has meant an incredible amount to me over the past decade as we’ve moved forward at Green Acres,” he said. “It was one of the first things I read when I came here and provided a great deal of help. It was extremely helpful to us.”

Smith emphasized speakers were chosen to cover many church situations and needs in Georgia.

“I don’t believe anybody will go away not being glad they came,” he said. “I think they’ll find it a good investment of their time and hope pastors encourage their staff and leaders to attend. We have a remarkably broad lineup of speakers from a range of church ministry styles, age ranges and ministry needs and settings. There are no breakout sessions during the two days, every session is high impact dealing with important topics.”

Scheduled speakers are Stetzer, Charles, Purvis, Brent Purvis, D.A. Horton, Johnny Hunt, Jason Britt, Ike Reighard and Junior Hill. Gerald Malloy will lead worship.

Smith said attendance at the Georgia Baptist conference has increased in past years. He said he attributes it in part to moving the event away from Atlanta to a location central to all Georgians.

“This is the second year for us at Central Baptist in Warner Robins and the location has been a real plus,” he said. “Central really is in the center of the state and a good venue for what we need. We appreciate being there. Of course, the number of people at different sessions varies, but overall feedback is that these meetings provide not only some of the best teaching, preaching and inspiration, but some of best times of worship anywhere. It’s great to get away and fellowship and worship together. And it’s important to refocus on our mission as churches and help one another make progress.”

Contact writer Michael W. Pannell at

Reach Evangelism Conference: The Strategy of the Gospel

When: Jan 29-30

Where: Central Baptist Church, 1120 Lake Joy Rd., Warner Robins, Ga. 31088

Phone: 770-936-5232

Registration: Free-No registration required