Before starting his report to the 2017 Annual Meeting, Joseph Bunce, executive director of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico, asked Ricardo Rivera to come to the platform and testify about an effective model he is using with Hispanics to share the Gospel. Rivera serves the BCNM as Hispanic ministries strategist.
Rivera shared the Four Fields model, which involves a team knocking on doors, praying with anyone in the home and asking if they team can return and share the Bible story (Gospel). If invited back, the team shares the Gospel and often leads family members to follow Jesus.
Then, Bunce invited DavidE, the BCNM's director of collegiate ministries, to explain an evangelism strategy Christian Challenge students are using on New Mexico university campuses.
At the start of the year, 50 students were trained in one-on-one evangelism. They went out in teams of about 15 students with a “Tell Me Your Story” board. Standing at a corner, the students asked passersby if they would write one word on the board that describes their life. Once a person writes his or her "life word," a team member asks to hear the person's story and what the word means. Afterward, the Christian Challenge student prays for that person. Students brought one “Tell Me Your Story” board onstage, fully covered with words.
Beginning his report, Bunce said, “Christian homes and churches are being attacked.” Since Dr. Bunce is the former pastor of First Baptist Church, Bloomfield, and was the church's pastor at the time the auditorium was constructed, he told about a Bible that is buried in the concrete platform, directly under his feet where he preached. He said, “I stand on the Bible to share the Bible.” He explained that the Bible had been passed around to all the Sunday school classes and among the members to sign before it was buried. This Bible became an avenue the church used to share the Gospel with construction workers on the building project.
He said that evangelism and missions should be the heartbeat of every church, noting that 83 percent of the people in New Mexico do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. “People outside the walls of the church are more willing to hear than the people inside are willing to share,” he said. He asked messengers, “What are we asking God to do in our state convention of churches that brings others to Christ?”
Bunce drew attention to the fifth chapter of Revelation that says the Lamb who was slain is worthy! He said that God should receive glory when believers share the Gospel. He also emphasized how Revelation describes people of every tribe, tongue and nation following Jesus. "That," he said, "describes the ethnic diversity of New Mexico." He said, “May that '[people of] every tribe, tongue and nation' [following Jesus] be a reality in New Mexico.” The “nations” are in New Mexico, he explained, "You can see them everywhere you go—people from all countries live in New Mexico." They must hear that “Nothing but the blood of Jesus is capable of redeeming men and women. Jesus is the only way to heaven. "Together we are a mighty force,” he said.
Bunce also shared his dream to see 500 Southern Baptist churches in New Mexico. Currently the convention has 352 churches, church plants and points of light. He also said he prays that New Mexico Baptists will baptize 5,000 people every year. Then, he said, "We should all be praying that these baptisms take place."
Finally, Bunce encouraged messengers to not lose “the wonder of it all.” His report stressed that believers and church leaders must build evangelism into the DNA of their churches and must proclaim Christ to the nations. They cannot let debates divide them, but must do everything possible to see that everyone gets to hear about Jesus, he said. In addition, he stressed how Christians must love one another.
Closing his message, he asked those in attendance to come to the altar to pray, asking God to help them be bearers of God's redemption and to help them be passionate about seeing people saved.