With a 62-year history of dedication to supporting the Body of Christ, the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists is looking to make a deep impact in the next year through events, outreach and, especially, through mentoring up-and-coming evangelists.
“The purpose of COSBE is to encourage our fellow (Southern Baptist Convention) vocational evangelists, and to provide a covering for accountability, as well as to provide opportunities for fellowship and training,” explained Terry Veazey, newly elected COSBE president.
Veazey, a longtime evangelist himself, having been in ministry since 1970, noted the organization assists in promoting the gifts of the evangelist to pastors and churches.
“According to Ephesians 4, the evangelist is a gift from God given to His church to win the lost, and to equip the church to do likewise,” Veazey said. “We must not neglect the gift. If we do, it will lead to a serious decline in the church fulfilling its role in God’s Kingdom.”
Support for pastors, churches
COSBE strives to support the work of pastors, but one of the group’s biggest impacts is on the church, according to Veazey, assisting both pastors and churches in conducting evangelistic outreach events in their congregations and communities. Those include revival meetings, crusades, concerts, Bible conferences or training seminars.
Veazey has big plans to support next year’s SBC annual meeting in Anaheim, California, scheduled to start June 14. He laid out some of the plans for the weekend prior to the meeting, including a possible open-air evangelistic event and scheduling COSBE members to minister in local churches.
One of Veazey’s plans is a Christmas special, to be livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube.
“We’ve done it two or three times so far. We plan to have music evangelists, one or two testimonies from evangelists and a brief evangelistic message and appeal,” he said.
Renewed energy for mentoring
Another important plan in the works is a new push for mentoring.
“What do top leaders have in common?” Veazey asked. “Each had a mentor.”
According to Veazey, COSBE has suffered over the years with a decline in membership, going from approximately 700 in 1972 to fewer than 100 today. He believes taking young preachers under their wings will help train up future evangelists.
“In the last several years, it’s been a background purpose,” he said. “I’ve decided to make it a major priority.”
Churches have stopped using evangelists, Veazey noted, and stopped doing evangelistic events, which in turn puts a financial strain on the evangelists and results in fewer available to assist the churches.
He said the lack of evangelists equates to the lack of tools necessary to be soul winners.
“The numbers have dwindled. There’s been a steady decline in baptisms and (church) membership. We’ve neglected the gift God gave to the church,” Veazey asserted.
His focus on mentoring also has a personal angle, he said, recalling his experience some 50 years ago.
“I was mentored,” he remembered. “An evangelist took me under his wing and took me on the road with him. That’s why I am still an evangelist.”
For more information on the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists, click here.