Pastors discuss challenges of evangelism in Waco

Charles Ramsey invited ministers to gather for a day of encouragement and pastoral ministry. | Shae Koharski Multimedia Journalist

By Emma Whitaker | Reporter

Dr. Charles Ramsey challenged Texan pastors to shift their way of thinking while speaking at the Ministry Guidance Conference on Wednesday. He discussed “radical evangelism,” a kind of evangelism that is more relational than instructional.

George W. Truett Theological Seminary hosted Ministry Guidance Conference from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Fellow pastors, not just within the Waco community, but also of Dallas, Austin, Killeen, and more, were invited to gather for a day of encouragement and pastoral ministry.

Louine Adams, the administrative associate of ministry guidance, facilitates the annual event. She says the event is aimed to avoid pastoral burnout, provide new resources, and, ultimately, foster a sense of ministerial community.

“We hear pastors say they enjoy fellowship with other ministers. Often ministers of different churches don’t get the chance to get together, so this event aims to meet that need,” Adams said.

Ramsey, Baylor’s Baptist Student Ministries director, lectured at the event, focusing his message on evangelism within the post Christian culture. He invites Christian students to befriend students who are not believers, extending hospitality and authenticity.

“We’re not excelling on the hospitality piece. We’re so busy, that’s it’s become hard to exert hospitality to non-believers,” Ramsey said, “There’s a set box for hospitality, and outside the church we don’t do it. We don’t want to shove the gospel down people’s’ throats. We do not want to be the scary evangelist. Yet consequentially, we forget to share at all,” Ramsey said.

Ramsey said he wants to expand on the concept of evangelism. In the old framework, it was an activity, yet he challenges people to push the framework to a more integration method. He said people should exchange stories, to feel free to tell their story without feeling like an aggressor and instigator, but rather a vulnerable soul. He said the way people communicate requires cultural clothing and it involves understanding people.

“Centered upon the gospel all activity becomes an opportunity for mission. We can go very far,” Ramsey said.

He gave the example of the Baylor rugby team. The team is composed of 24 members, and Ramsey said 14 of them are in active bible study fellowship now. He said it only took one student to instigate and integrate biblical relationships within the rugby community. Ramsey said this is the gospel and it is hospitable. He said it is communicated as an insider, as someone that understands a culture’s language.

“It becomes natural. That one student understood the culture. He was real with his friends about the challenge of the gospel. He didn’t sugarcoat. He was real, and they took the challenge. They wanted in,” Ramsey said.

Bishop Royce Montgomery of New Horizon Missionary Baptist Church Waco explained how humility is essential in sharing the good news, and how the older versions of sharing the gospel are not as successful as they were once seen to be.

“We need to get on their level. You need to share your experiences about Christ and then invite them, but don’t force them. Simply invite them to be apart of the body of Christ. We need to be accessible to our fellow men. If it means me taking my suit off to go down and talk to some guys that have on jeans, then that’s what I’m going to do,” Montgomery said.