The New Awakening Evangelism Conference will bring three of the Southern Baptist Convention’s foremost teachers and revival preachers to Decatur, Ill., March 27-28.
Johnny Hunt, Alvin Reid, and Joel Southerland will speak during the conference at Tabernacle Baptist Church, which also includes 14 evangelism-themed breakout sessions.
“New Awakening” is the first statewide evangelism conference hosted by the Illinois Baptist State Association in several years. The theme came out of a season of personal study on the first and second Great Awakenings and other historic revivals, said Tim Sadler, IBSA’s director of evangelism.
“I was just convinced that our problem is not going to be fixed by a program; declining baptisms are not going to be fixed by another thing in a box.
“We need a move of God’s spirit; we need another awakening, and I’m praying that it starts here, in us.”
The conference comes at a time when leaders are calling Baptists in Illinois and across the country to heightened prayer for spiritual awakening and revival. Several factors have brought on the recent focus on awakening, Reid told the Illinois Baptist: Baptists are aware they’ve lost the “home field advantage;” numbers are declining and we don’t have the influence we once had.
“A lot of leaders are realizing we’re just not smart enough to build a program to fix this. We need a God intervention….I think we need to get to a place where there’s a sense of desperation.”
Reid, a professor of evangelism and student ministry at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, will teach twice during large-group sessions at the conference, and also lead a breakout session reaching the next generation. Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Ga., and Southerland, executive director of evangelism strategies for the North American Mission Board, also will preach twice in Decatur.
Attendees will choose three breakout sessions from a list of options including, reaching men with the gospel; attractional evangelism events; prayer and evangelism; Bible storying as a means of sharing the gospel; and more. The conference also will offer breakout tracks for women and church planters.
Chad and Rachel Ozee, planters of Journey Church in Bourbonnais, will lead in worship and will also give a bonus concert following the Friday evening session.
New Awakening begins Friday at 6:30 p.m.; the Saturday session is 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The cost is $10 per person for IBSA churches, and $15 for churches not affiliated with IBSA.
A block of rooms has been reserved at the Decatur Conference Center and Hotel, located directly across the street from Tabernacle Baptist Church. Contact the hotel at (217) 422-8800, and ask for a room listed under the IBSA New Awakening Evangelism Conference.