Born in the Heart of God



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Born in the Heart of God



by



Dr. Keith Fordham

Full-time Southern Baptist Evangelist

Table of Contents


Born in the Heart of God 1

by 1


Dr. Keith Fordham 1

Full-time Southern Baptist Evangelist 1

Table of Contents 2

INTRODUCTION 5

CHAPTER 1 THE BACKGROUND DEFINITIONS OF THE ITINERANT, REVIVAL EVANGELIST 9

CHAPTER 2 SCRIPTURAL BACKGROUND OF THE EVANGELIST 17

Chapter 3 The Omission Of The Evangelist 24

Chapter 4 The Call of the Evangelist 25

HOW TO KNOW IF YOU ARE CALLED TO BE AN EVANGELIST? 25

Some Characteristics 27

Two Examples 28

Some Examples 30

Comparison with Old Testament Prophets 31

Chapter 5 GODLY ADVICE FOR THE PASTOR, CHURCH, AND EVANGELIST 32

TO REJECT THE OFFICE OF EVANGELIST IS: 32

TO IGNORE THE OFFICE OF EVANGELIST IS: 35

TO ABUSE THE OFFICE OF EVANGELIST IS: 38

Chapter 6 Defining Evangelism 41

Chapter 7 Jesus Methodology of Baptism 42

Matthew 9-10 42

CHAPTER 8 THE EVANGELIST'S START 43

CONVERSION 43

Call 44

PUBLICITY 45



ORGANIZATION 46

NO ORGANIZATION 46

STRENGTHS OF NO ORGANIZATION 46

WEAKNESSES OF NO ORGANIZATION 46

EVANGELISTIC ASSOCIATIONS WITH TAX EXEMPT STATUS 47

STRENGTHS OF A LARGE BOARD OF DIRECTORS 47

WEAKNESSES OF A LARGE BOARD OF DIRECTORS 47

HOW TO START AN EVANGELISTIC ASSOCIATION 48

CHAPTER 9 THE LIFESTYLE OF THE EVANGELIST: 50

LIFE ON THE ROAD 50

HOME SCHOOLING 53

UPDATE ON HOME SCHOOLING AND FAMILY 55

STUDY 57

THE AMSTERDAM AFFIRMATIONS 59

CHAPTER 10 A LIFE OF FAITH FOR THE EVANGELIST: 61

THE FINANCIAL NEEDS OF THE MINISTRY 61

FAITHFULNESS IS GOD'S WAY 61

FAITH IS GIVING 61

FAITH IS RECEIVING (LOVE OFFERING AND HOSPITALITY) 62

GUARD HIS TIME 67

Guest Pastor’s Comments: The Team of Pastor and Evangelist by Shane Craven Magazine The Voice of the Evangelist on page 50. 68

FAITH REAPS A HARVEST 71

FAITH FILLS THE SCHEDULE 71

FAITH FOR THE FAMILY 72

FAITH IN GOD'S MEN (THE PASTORS) 72

RESPONSIBLE FAITH 73

A SERMON OF FAITH 73

FAITH'S PROVISION (GOD PROVIDES) 75

FAITH GIVES STRENGTH 76

A FAITHFUL PLAN 77

CHAPTER 11 THE EVANGELIST'S METHODS, STRATEGIES AND SPECIAL ABILITIES 78

ABILITIES 78

TYPES OF MEETINGS 82

Helpful Resource Material 84

Testimony Using Resource Material 87

Chapter12 Music in Evangelism and the Music Evangelist 88

The Importance of Evangelistic Music 88

Power of Music 89

MUSIC IN EVANGELISM AND REVIVAL 91

Guidelines and Practical Advice 95

The Accompanists 100

The Choir 100

OTHER MUSIC EVANGELISTS 104

Conclusion 104

Chapter 13Preaching a Revival 106

Chapter14 Preparing for a Revival 107

Chapter 15 The Invitation 108

OVERVIEW 122

INTRODUCTION 122

I. YOU ARE EXPECTED TO GIVE AN INVITATION 122

CHAPTER 16 THE EVANGELIST'S RELATIONSHIP TO THE LOCAL CHURCH 134

CHAPTER 17 THE EVANGELIST'S RELATIONSHIP TO THESOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION 139

CONFERENCE OF SOUTHERN BAPTIST EVANGELISTS 142

COSBE Publishing Report- David Ball, MD Editor 149

COSBE EVANGELISM PLAN for Baptism Assistance Project in Churches 152

CHAPTER 18 THE EVANGELIST'S RELATIONSHIP TO THE STATE CONVENTION 154

REQUIREMENTS FOR MEMBERSHIP 158

OFFICERS 158

CONFERENCE OF GEORGIA BAPTIST EVANGELISTS 159

Marital Status 159

APPENDIX A 163

APPENDIX B 172


“The Evangelist”



Born in the Heart of God

INTRODUCTION


While at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, I became aware that the place of the evangelist in the Southern Baptist Convention was little known and almost undefined. One professor called evangelists "ministers at large." My professors, when learning that I planned to enter full time evangelism after graduation, had only one word for me, "Don't."

New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary is a very fine place to train pastors. Most of the professors have pastoral experience and great expertise in pastoral ministry. However, none of the professors at that time had been vocational evangelists. The only perspective they knew was to enter the pastorate, become established as a pastor, and then if God led, to launch out in evangelistic work at that time.

However, I had known since college years that God had called me into the evangelistic ministry of conducting revival crusades. What could I do to follow God? I found that no one really knew how to set up an evangelistic organization or how to start straight out of seminary into the work of an evangelist. There would be no resumes to type up and mail out. What were my options? What practical plan could I follow?

As always, God provides for His children. By divine providence I ran into Evangelist Leo Humphries at the barbershop and then again at the Baptist Book Store on the New Orleans Campus. He gave me much practical advice including the following: who to see about a charter for a non profit association, advice on the type of organization, and where to get by laws and a statement of faith. A fellow student aided in filling out tax forms. Within two months a favorable reply came from the IRS, which is no small miracle in itself. There were an Associational Director of Missions and a pastor who taught me about publicity. Thank God, by the end of 1975, the Home Mission Board (NAMB) stepped in with advice in further practical areas.

In the past twenty-eight years as a full time evangelist I have discovered that most itinerant, revival evangelists in the Southern Baptist Convention have had the same experience. The entrance into evangelism has been trial and error. Most of the extremely helpful advice that I have received has been from fellow evangelists. In fact, I have been asked to send copies of my tax papers, charter, and by laws to numerous men who were desperately searching for practical "how to" information. As a consequence of seeing this need, these documents will be included in APPENDIX A.

Finding books on the Biblical basis for the revival evangelist has been elusive as well. The doctrine and theology books generally gloss over a real definition of an evangelist. Terms such as minister at large, evangelist and revivalist have been used of pastors who do this work part-time or in conjunction with their church work. I find that no differentiation between a pastor and evangelist has been expressed to most of the congregations. Many pastors have never used an evangelist to preach a revival, much less been one. On the other hand there are a number of pastors who use only evangelists for their revival crusades. Most disparaging of all is the fact that some pastors and most laymen do not know the difference in a pastor who preaches their revival and an evangelist.

In recent years evangelist Billy Graham has faced this dilemma of identity and definition of evangelist by coining the term "itinerant evangelist." In his book A Biblical Standard for Evangelists, Billy Graham writes concerning Amsterdam '83:

The International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists   Amsterdam '83   was not only a special milestone in my ministry, but a historic Conference. It was the first time in history that such a Conference had ever been held. At its climax there was a solemn act of commitment. Fellow evangelists from every continent of the world and I rededicated ourselves to the service of our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, using the meaningful words of what we called "The Amsterdam Affirmations."

These fifteen points provide a biblical standard for those whom God sets apart to "do the work of an evangelist." But, more than that, they have relevance to the whole family of God, for we are all called to be His witnesses. That is why this commentary has been prepared for wider circulation.

But let me backtrack for a moment. Many years ago God gave me a vision of bringing together evangelists from all parts of the world for a conference. At that time it would have been impossible. I was far too young. Some of the older and more experienced evangelists may have resented my initiative. The idea never left me, and I never doubted that some day it would happen. It was simply a question of being sensitive to God's timing for such an event. As we look back, we can sense His guidance in every step toward it.

Meanwhile, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association had organized and financed other events of a similar nature. There was the World Congress on Evangelism in Berlin in 1966. Then came various regional conferences, including a conference for Asian evangelical leaders in Singapore in 1968, and a European conference on evangelism in 1971. Then we convened another world congress in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1974. In all these conferences; even though much of the responsibility fell on me and was organized and financed by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, I chose to be called the "Honorary Chairman," and appointed Chairmen and Program Directors to be responsible for the day to day administration.

These were all memorable and worthwhile meetings, which brought together theologians, educators, mission executives, pastors, and church leaders, as well as evangelists. In retrospect, they probably laid an essential foundation for Amsterdam '83. But always in my mind and heart was the original vision of a conference strictly for evangelists. The question was, however, how could we distinguish between the pastor with the gift of an evangelist and one who, like me, travels from place to place preaching the Gospel? That's when we thought the word “itinerant" made the definition more specific. 1

Dr. Graham continues,

When we were trying to determine whom we should invite to Amsterdam, we had to establish guidelines by beginning with the basic question, “What is an evangelist?" While we know that every Christian should be a witness to Christ, we are also aware that God has called certain people into the specific task or ministry of evangelism. 2

Amsterdam '83 and 2000 were historic events. The itinerant, revival evangelists of the Southern Baptist Convention experienced a similar event at Southwest Baptist College in Bolivar, Missouri, though on a much smaller scale. This occurred in conjunction with the coming of Bobby Sunderland to the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. This change of direction will be discussed in the chapter entitled "The Evangelist's Relation to the Southern Baptist Convention."

In January 1975, I had no idea about the life or lifestyle of an evangelist. I could not imagine the homesickness, exhaustion, depression, financial distress, or study difficulties that would come, much less what some of the possible cures could be. I was forced to walk in faith. Often the advice and on occasion the financial assistance from others kept me going. Nor, could I ever realize how precious a home church would be to my family and me. Some cures for difficulties will be discussed throughout this paper, but especially in the chapter entitled "The Lifestyle of the Evangelist."

At the Southern Baptist Convention in 1975, I had never heard about the Stalnecker Open House. Neither had I heard about the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists, nor did I not know how to join the Conference. Furthermore, I did not know of the purpose of the Conference.

In 1975, the State of Georgia did not even have an evangelist's fellowship, but by 1976, the Conference of Georgia Baptist Evangelists came into existence. Its purpose was only for fellowship, at first. Later, the coming of Jim Griffith as the State Secretary of the Georgia Baptist Convention and Bill Clinton as Secretary of Evangelism marked a change in direction not only for the State Convention, but also for the Conference of Georgia Baptist Evangelists. The Conference of Georgia Baptist Evangelists now could have a meaningful purpose in working hand in hand with the convention. Pastors could now be made aware of evangelists and how to use them.

The history of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists has been partially chronicled and the history of the Conference of Georgia Baptist Evangelists has been totally unchronicled. Space will be given to fill in some of these gaps in chapters 8 and 9.

The six Southern Baptist Seminaries teach methods and strategies in evangelism. Certain of these schools are improving their evangelism departments every year. Southwestern for instance, now offers a course for the vocational evangelist. However, many pastors do not realize the versatility, methods, and strategies in using today's evangelists in the Southern Baptist Convention. Continuing education and study of the Bible will have a great impact on the use of evangelists in the Southern Baptist Convention.

Firstly, the purpose of this book is to be a practical help to men who are truly called and given of God to be an evangelist. Included will be guidelines to help a man know whether or not God has called him into this work.

Secondly, it is the purpose of this book to provide the pastor with suggestions of ways and means in utilizing the gift of the evangelist most effectively in his church.

Thirdly, it is to provide a source of practical material about the itinerant, revival evangelist in the Southern Baptist Convention. Also, it is a goal to share how to counsel men called from their church into this work. Hopefully the seminaries will be encouraged to make their great source of wisdom and knowledge even more available to evangelists in the field.

Fourthly, it is the purpose of this book to discuss the relationship of the local evangelist with his home church. This must also include suggestions in relating to all local churches to the glory of God and up building of the church.

Fifthly, it is the purpose of this book to give brief histories of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists and Conference of Georgia Baptist Evangelists. This will allow us to see their purposes and actions in recent years.

Sixthly, it is the purpose of this book to discuss the relationship of the evangelist to his state convention and the Southern Baptist Convention by sharing personal experiences and interviews with convention workers. Furthermore, I intend to share some of the positive aspects of plans that are in the making.

Seventhly, it is the purpose of this book to inspire and encourage God's evangelists in the field.

The main method utilized in much of the explanation will be by practical and personal illustrations from this Georgia, evangelist's life. These personal and detailed experiences will give a pattern for men to follow in getting started. The illustrations are intended to encourage fellow evangelists. It is my prayer that every area of this book will be expanded and improved on as knowledge of the gift of an evangelist grows among God’s churches.



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