RATON (BNM) - First Baptist Church, Raton, organized and hosted its inaugural Conference on Biblical Evangelism, Oct. 5-6, with upwards of 140 people in attendance during parts of the two-day event.
The conference began Saturday, Oct. 5, with two evening worship and teaching sessions and concluded on Sunday, Oct. 6, with two morning worship and teaching sessions. The second morning session took place during Raton’s traditional Sunday morning service.
The Saturday sessions centered on the parable of the soils, while the Sunday sessions focused on evangelism methods and the parable of the Kingdom. Each family in attendance received a copy of J.I. Packer’s “Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God.”
The Baptist New Mexican spoke with First Baptist’s lead pastor, Nathan Ramirez, after the event. The conference was inspired by a church-wide desire to “become more faithful in evangelism” and to “learn how to be the best ambassadors for Jesus Christ,” Ramirez said.
First Baptist hopes to make the conference an annual event open to other churches in the area. Ramirez, who preached during all of this year’s conference sessions, plans to invite guest speakers to participate during future conferences.
Ramirez estimated that 70 people attended each of the first three sessions, and between 130 and 140 people attended the fourth session. He joked that holding part of the conference during the church’s Sunday service was an effective way to get people to participate in the event.
Ramirez told BNM that the event received positive feedback from the church’s council, and appeared confident in First Baptist’s evangelistic future, saying, “I look at results more as a long term thing. I think time will tell whether we’re growing in this area. But, I definitely think just the fact that we had a weekend where, for four sessions, we exclusively talked about our role as evangelists, I think that alone is going to show our people that this is something we take seriously. [Evangelism] is a huge part of what it means to be a disciple of Christ.”
It is a common mindset within churches that it is the job of the congregation to invite people to church and the responsibility of the pastor to share the Gospel. The conference emphasized personal evangelism strategies, pushing back against this notion.
“We want people to invite their friends to Christmas service and Easter service because they are more likely to come, and they are going to hear the Gospel. It’s a great thing, don’t get me wrong, but we really emphasized that that isn’t the main way we see evangelism happening in Scripture. We saw church meetings in Scripture being mainly for the church, and then we saw the church going out to evangelize the world.” Ramirez said.
A video archive of the Conference on Biblical Evangelism is available at www.fbcraton.org.