Billy Graham School of Missions’ Dean Speaks at SBC’s DOM Conference

Rainer emphasized striving for greatness in the area of evangelism.
( [email protected] ) Jun 15, 2004 06:11 PM EDT

INDIANAPOLIS -- The 43rd annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Directors of Missions in Indianapolis was held June 13-14 at the Radisson City Centre, Indianapolis.

During the meeting, Thom Rainer, dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, urged Baptist associations to strive for greatness in the area of evangelism by reaching out to lost men and women with unceasing passion.

“When half of our pastors … do not have the burning to reach people for Christ, we are satisfied with mediocrity and we have not have not ascended to the greatness that God has called us to,” Rainer said.

There is reason why Rainer felt necessary to make such urgency. Referring to statistics compiled by the Rainer Group church consulting firm, Rainer pointed out that it currently takes 85 Southern Baptists to reach one lost person for Christ and that 48 percent of Southern Baptist pastors have not shared Christ with anyone in the past three months.

To remedy this mediocrity in evangelism DOM’s must develop accountability relationships with pastors and encourage them to share the message of Christ regularly, Rainer said.

He also suggested helping churches understand the importance of inviting lost people to church as a way to promote evangelism. However, according to Rainer, the ultimate way to build evangelistic associations is by modeling personal evangelism for pastors and churches.

“You must model (evangelism) for the leaders of the churches,” Rainer said. “You cannot program it or plan it until you have modeled it. And if you are not passionate about it, then ask God to give you a passion for lost people.”

This year’s Southern Baptist Conference of Associational Directors of Mssions had its focus on building healthy associations in the 21st century, with the theme:

"Together ... To Pray ... To Care ... To Share!"

"I believe these three aspects of associational ministry are foundational to a healthy association," said Jim Freedman, president of the SBCADOM and executive director of the Nashville Baptist Association in Tennessee. "Our responsibility as DOMs is to lead the churches of our association to pray for people, care for people and share Jesus with people."

Other featured speakers during the two-day conference include: Jerry Rankin, president of the International Mission Board; O.S. Hawkins, president of the Annuity Board; James T. Draper Jr., president of LifeWay Christian Resources; and Robert E. (Bob) Reccord, president of the North American Mission Board.