Caught up in fear and uncertainty after terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Southern Baptists missed an opportunity to share the gospel with a society ready to receive a word of comfort, Southern Baptist Convention president Bobby Welch says on a DVD sent to 70,000 church and denominational leaders.
Welch urged Southern Baptists to be prepared in the event the United States suffers another terrorist attack.
“We know what the government is saying,” Welch said. “They are saying that in all likelihood we are going to sustain in this country another terrorist attack and soon. In fact, they are almost promising it. I think we ought to pray, and I know you are and I am, that that will never happen, but 9/11 did happen and another could happen as well.”
Welch said the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board and churches in New York did well in the aftermath of 9/11 in terms of “racing to the point of hemorrhage” to provide disaster relief.
Next time, he said, Baptists need also to be prepared to reach out in other places across the United States “where people are scared to death and don’t know what to do.”
Welch said his church, First Baptist Church of Daytona Beach, Fla., “instead of drawing up in a knot and being scared to death” after 9/11, hit streets offering words of comfort, sharing the gospel and praying with people door-to-door.
“We cannot sit by when this country is being assaulted by hell and by Satan,” Welch said. “If something else happens, mobilize your people. Don’t let them ball up in fear.”
Welch said NAMB and LifeWay Christian Resources both offer resources to help Baptists share the gospel. One such program is FAITH, a Sunday-school based evangelism plan developed by Welch and Doug Williams, retired evangelism director at his church.
“Don’t be caught this time not ready,” he said. “We need to be ready to go to all of the country. As we pray that God will spare us from this and as we pray for our country and our president and other leaders, let us pray that we will always be faithful to immediately respond with the love of Jesus Christ and the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.