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Perspective - January 2006

A new year – a time of new beginnings and a time of reflection on the previous 12 months.

In looking back at 2005, I'm amazed at God's grace and love for the California Southern Baptist family. Churches transformed communities with the power of the gospel, individual believers were listening and obeying God's call, and some were taking their first mission trip and their lives will never be the same. Mission giving reached an all-time high providing resources to reach the lost and make disciples.

Every day I'm encouraged because I believe California Southern Baptists have an unprecedented opportunity of telling the Good News to a lost world here in our state. The convention's tagline says it best: "Reaching the World in California ."

Recently while preaching at a CSBC church, I asked members to write the names of three people they knew who were not Christians. After collecting the submissions, 216 names were garnered. I challenged the congregation to intentionally pray for and witness to these individuals during the year and to celebrate with those who make professions of faith during 2006.

I believe this is a good "evangelism exercise" for congregations to intentionally identify people who need to know the Lord. I challenge you to think of the people with whom you have a relationship who need Jesus. Write their names down and begin praying for and introducing them to Jesus. You might be surprised by the number of people on your list.

I encourage churches to commit to renewed evangelistic efforts in 2006 so California Southern Baptists might double or triple our baptism efforts in the coming year.

Another way to increase baptisms is to start new congregations. Statistics indicate that new churches are more effective at reaching and baptizing people for Jesus. My challenge at the 2005 annual meeting was to start 300 new congregations in 2006. I encourage 300 of our churches to step forward so that at the end of 2006 we can celebrate 300 or more new congregations.

I look forward to ministering alongside the CSBC family in 2006 as we experience an exciting year of "reaching the world in California ." 

Last Published: February 27, 2006 12:48 PM