After several years of preparation, the Southern Baptist Convention began the preliminary stage in their campaign to bring about a spiritual revival to North America. Under the title, “What Now,” the three-year campaign - which will officially launch in 2005, also acts as the evangelism wing of the Southern Baptist-led Empowering Kingdom Growth initiative
"North America is hungry for the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Bob Reccord, president of the North American Mission Board.
One of the core points of the “What Now?” campaign is to gather 1 million Southern Baptists to pray together and share the hope of the Gospel in the midst of the insecurities of the world.
"Just as world events have created an unprecedented interest in spiritual matters in lost hearts, they also have created a yearning in the hearts of God's people -- a desire for a great spiritual awakening that would draw multitudes to Christ," said Reccord.
“Millions of our family, friends, co-workers and neighbors are empty and seeking the satisfaction that only comes from a personal relationship with Him. They are simply waiting for Christians to share 'the hope that is within us,’” Reccord continued. "The What Now? campaign gives Southern Baptists a wonderful opportunity to join God in helping our nation find the Answer to all their questions, the One who calms every fear."
Another goal of the campaign is to begin 100,000 new Bible study units and baptize 1 million new believers. The peak of “What Now?” however, comes in 2005, when the leaders will launch a million dollar campaign for the effort. At that time, the What Now? Campaign will be advertised on television, radio, periodicals and Internet. Currently, the campaign is gaining speed through mass mailing to individual congregations.
The campaign hopes to fill the hunger of those seeking God, especially those who do not yet know him.
"The greatest crisis we face is spiritual. God has given the nation a hunger for Him, and He has prepared Southern Baptists to help fill that hunger,” said Reccord.
James T. Draper Jr., president of the SBC-run LifeWay Christian Resources agreed, saying that the believers must have a biblical approach in reaching people.
"We must tackle the tremendous challenges we face. What Now? will help us maximize our energies for a common -- and very biblical -- goal: reaching people and planting churches,” said Draper.
"Jesus is the solution to the problems that plague us,” said “The Gospel is the only hope and we must share it. Christianity is being caricatured and distorted. The church needs to declare a clear and positive word from the Lord,” Draper continued.
Wanda Lee, executive director/treasurer of Woman’s Missionary Union also announced that the union will join with the Southern Baptists to meet the goal.
“With enthusiasm and passion for reaching North America for Christ, WMU is pleased to partner in this call to Southern Baptists,” Lee said. “As long as there are people and places without a Gospel witness, WMU will challenge Christian believers to a radical commitment of time and resources to God’s mission.”
Gerry Taillon, national ministry leader of the Canadian Convention of Southern Baptists commended the campaign as something that is necessary at this present time.
“Life invariably moves in the direction of the selfish and unfocused,” Taillon said. “Believers, churches and denominational organizations must focus on the priorities of the Great Commission to avoid becoming sidetracked by embracing self-centered undertakings.
“What Now? refocuses our energy and resources on our fundamental mission and anticipates the powerful activity of God,” continued Taillon.
J. Robert White, executive director of the Georgia Baptist Convention, explained the potential impact the campaign would have on the SBC.
“When you think in terms of keeping the main thing the main thing, What Now? points us in the right direction,” said White,who also chaired the national task force that planned the What Now? Campaign. “If we stretch ourselves to empower Kingdom growth as never before in our history, we will see the beginning of a new era in Southern Baptist life.”
According to Reccord, What Now? is not just another denominational program, but it is a joint effort within all factions of the SBC to prepare for a greater awakening.
“What Now? is not another program pushed by the denomination to get churches to do something,” he said. “It’s a handle to help Southern Baptist partners prepare for a mighty movement of God’s Spirit by focusing on the things that really matter: prayer, evangelism, Bible study and new churches.
“NAMB, LifeWay and WMU are joining hearts and hands with all our state conventions and associations as never before,” Reccord said. “We intend to model for our churches what it means to truly cooperate in order to reach North America with the Gospel.
“What Now? can facilitate a great movement of God –- if we will seek His face. Our prayer is that local churches will use these tools to bring North America to our Lord. The time has come for Southern Baptists to seek His face and experience the blessing He desires for His people,” he continued.
For more information about What Now? please visit online at: www.whatnowamerica.com