“If we begin to pour ourselves into people, old or young, imagine what 200 people at a ReCharge Conference could do if it only took 12 to turn the world upside down,” Robert White, lead pastor of Freedom Church in Bedford, said during his workshop at the 2019 ReCharge African American Evangelism Conference, referencing the 12 disciples Jesus called into leadership.
White’s workshop, entitled “Restore through Discipleship,” was one of many that focused on reaching a changing culture and a new generation. Participants of ReCharge, an event sponsored by Texas Baptists, were given the opportunity to attend these workshops in addition to the general sessions hosted in Pilgrim Chapel on Dallas Baptist University’s campus on Sept. 6-7.
Oza Jones, associate evangelism lead at Texas Baptists, explained that the conference was designed to give churches the tools they needed to better engage with their communities.
“The design and vision of the ReCharge Conference was to empower, equip and encourage local churches to be the community church, not just another church in the community,” he said.
“The Recharge Conference gave scripture and strategies to help these churches saturate the communities God has called them to with the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
During Saturday morning’s general sessions, Tommy Kyllonen, lead pastor of Crossover Church in Tampa, FL, spoke about Crossover Church’s efforts to minister to their city through the “Love Our City” campaign. He explained that through serving the community, the church was able to evangelize to a large group of people that would be otherwise uninterested in hearing the Gospel.
Kyllonen encouraged conference attendees to actively spread the love of Christ in their communities.
“We’re here to get recharged because we live in a culture that’s constantly changing...We have the answer, we have the hope, we have the love of God. And we’ve got to let people know,” he said.
During Robert Purvey’s workshop, “Reaching Millennials,” he elaborated on how churches can work to meet the changing culture’s needs. Purvey, associate pastor of high school and young adults at Antioch Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, explained that churches must be willing to be patient with millennials and their younger counterparts, Generation Z, and that the church must also allow the younger generation to be an active part of building up the church.
Millennials are the most service-minded generation, Purvey said. Church leaders need to teach millennials how to combine service with evangelism. He explained that millennials will be the next generation of church leaders, and that it is important for experienced pastors and ministers to equip them.
“They need your wisdom to connect to their passion,” Purvey told the church leaders. “When pastors don’t pass on their wisdom because they’re scared of losing their position, the church loses.”
Additional workshops were hosted by Ira Antoine, director of Bivocational Ministry at Texas Baptists; Sean Taylor, pastor of St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Euless; Tim Fuller, a professor at Southern Bible Institute; Maurice Pugh, senior pastor at New Life Fellowship in Arlington; Gary Patterson, pastor of Berean Bible Fellowship in San Antonio; and Bryant Lee, pastor of Higher Expectations Church in Humble.
Those that missed the conference can watch the workshops and general sessions online.
In the closing session, Dr. Delvin Atchison, senior pastor of Westside Baptist Church in Lewisville, preached from the book of Ruth. He explained that, like Naomi patiently taught Ruth the customs of Israel, it is the believer’s job to patiently teach newcomers in the Church the Christian lifestyle. He said that the Church must be willing to see past their expectations and judgments and love people despite their flaws.
“This is a different time and a different culture, and if we’re going to invite them in then we need to know how to take care of them,” Atchison said.
He encouraged attendees to welcome “Ruths” in with open arms, explaining that their new energy and love for the Gospel revitalizes churches and brings redemption.
White led the closing prayer.
“I pray that there will be Ruths that see us recharge from this conference… and that our light would shine so abundantly out of this place that it is not just a meeting but the beginning of a movement,” he said.
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