Most of us need a picture of what effective living looks like. I learned about 'neighbor love' by watching my father warm up his International tractor on a cold night to go and pull someone out of a ditch who had just had a driving mishap. I have equally strong memories of seeing my mother prepare plates of food to be delivered to people in our community who may not have had as much as us after we had just enjoyed a large family meal.
Those examples — and the memory of them — continue to impact my life in a positive way. Coupled with biblical teaching, they have provided a pattern for helping me love my neighbors.
Your Kentucky Baptist Mission Board staff members are striving to set an example worth following when it comes to personal evangelism. For the first time in many years, we presented to the Administrative Committee of the Kentucky Baptist Convention for their approval a detailed list of seven organizational goals we wish to be held accountable for.
One of those goals is related to personal evangelism. We set a goal for ourselves of having 4,000 gospel conversations within the time frame of May 1, 2020 through April 30, 2021.
Let me elaborate on that goal by answering a few questions.
First, why set a personal evangelism goal for the KBC staff?
The main reason for the goal is that each of us desire to be a faithful gospel witness — but most of us need help with focus and direction. A goal that honors biblical commands and recognizes dependence on God provides both of those needs. We are, as all Kentucky Baptists, convinced that every person needs to hear the good news of Jesus. Each person will die, and each person will spend eternity in either heaven or hell. For that reason, we set a goal for ourselves to share the gospel at least 4,000 times in 12 months.
Second, how does that goal play out per person? 4,000 gospel conversations in a 12-month period will require each KBC team member to share the gospel more than once each week. For some of our people this will present a great challenge, while others already share the good news four, five, six times or more each week. As a team working together, we believe we can accomplish this goal.
Third, what is a gospel conversation? We are defining a gospel conversation as a conversation that includes both information and invitation. The right information includes the story of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. My sin sends me to the cross and the cross makes me run to the grave. An empty tomb gives me hope that Jesus died, was buried and rose again to save me. A gospel conversation also includes an invitation — an invitation to take a next step in response to the gospel information that was shared.
Fourth, how can Kentucky Baptists participate in this goal? I ask that you pray for us. We want to share the good news of Christ, but we face the same challenges that others face in carrying out our goal. Also, I ask you consider setting a goal for yourself. A great starting place is a goal to share the gos- pel once a week, or even once a month if you are not in the regular practice of witnessing to others. I would further ask that you have a conversation with your church or fellowship group about setting a personal evangelism goal.
There are over 1.7 million homes in Kentucky and over 4.5 million people. Every home and every person in those homes needs the gospel. None of us can reach every home by ourselves, but together we can.
As we work together, pray together, pray for each other, partner together in ministry and missions, we will find that God will enable us to do far more than any of us would have imagined. We will also find that we are setting an example that will be just what others need in becoming a faithful witness for Christ.
Thank you for your partnership in the gospel and thank you for personal efforts, and those of your church, to reach Kentucky and the world for Christ.
Todd Gray is executive director-treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.