My team processed the recordings of the 2023 New Mexico Evangelism Conference - the content of all its messages and presentations - and returned with 16 sermon and breakout session recordings: 13-14 hours of preaching and teaching. The audio content is available to every New Mexico Baptist at listen.bcnm.com. We also prepared the summary articles for this issue.
The evangelism conference does not have to “be over” and “fade into the past.” The sermons and breakout sessions may have been seeds God has sown in participants’ hearts. So, how can we nurture them? How can we take the conference “home” to become a part of our lives and churches?
Detailed planning precedes the conference; presenters invest time praying and preparing their sessions. But no one can plan what you will do with the conference messages and teachings after it concludes.
The ideas below sketch ways to take the conference “home,” personally and in your church. You will need to customize these to your life and your congregation and adapt them to your church role.
Review. Whether taking it “home” personally or to a congregation, you should revisit the content - hear it again. Attendees may remember their feelings regarding their experience more clearly, than what they heard. Revisiting the details encourages the conference’s impact on you and your church.
Look back over any sermon or breakout session notes you took during the conference. You may remember writing some statements in your notes, but their significance has likely faded. That happens; keep going. Visit listen.bcnm.com, select the 2023 New Mexico Evangelism Conference from the available series and browse the list of sermons and breakouts. Click on the sermons you need to hear again.
Listen with your notes nearby. Match them with the recording. Fill in gaps and add clarifying words and phrases to your notes. Take fresh notes now if you have none.
Take note of what “caught” your attention. Write down things you believe God has drawn to your attention on purpose - items you should change, start or stop. Capture these ideas right after re-listening to the sermon or breakout session. Later, the Holy Spirit’s impressions will be less clear.
At this point, your list may be more than you think possible. Later, you can narrow it down. Ask yourself, “Which of these impressions is for me personally and which are to share with my church?”
Take it home personally.
Narrow. God wants to change you and help you grow in your Christian life. Look at your lists and copy into a new place (sheet, document, etc.) two or three items that you feel should be your first steps or adjustments.
Make a reasonable plan. Your plan should contain steps showing how you will make and sustain life changes or new habits. Each step should lay within your abilities - with a little stretching and faith.
Pray. Seek God. He is the life changer, and you need His power and activity. In prayer and, of course, in your everyday life surrender yourself to Him.
Engage a spiritual friend’s help. Tell a trusted spiritual friend about your journey. Show them your plan. Ask them to pray for you and encourage you.
Start. Begin doing your steps. Keep praying. Visit with your spiritual friend about your challenges. Keep circling through that process as you grow.
Take it home to your church.
Taking the conference home to your church is similar to taking it home personally. It also involves vulnerability and endurance. Expect God to work in the hearts of others, but allow them time to hear His voice.
Share your heart. Describe the ideas you feel God has shown you. Keep them as your own journey without pressuring others to agree; remember, God can use you and your words. You are the messenger - God is the one that changes hearts.
Share the messages. Set a time and place to share the message recordings with your group or congregation. Listen to them together. Encourage note-taking as they listen. Afterward, ask what God was saying to them. Write down what they share.
Make an actionable plan. Make a clear plan with actions and timeframes you all can do together. Do the planning soon after listening to the messages. Do this soon after listening.
Pray together. Distribute the plan to everyone. Pray together over the plan several times. Surrendering to God’s activity and accepting God’s work through prayer must precede action.
Set goals and a time for progress evaluation. Set goals that help you complete your plan. Establish a time for your group to meet, evaluate progress and tweak the plan.
Keep praying and moving forward. Individuals or congregations will miss some goals. Yet, they have sought to obey God’s voice and take action. That is “taking it home.”
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