Though he's new to his role in the convention, Great Commission Team Director Delvin Atchison already has big dreams for what Texas Baptists can accomplish in our state and beyond.
During Monday's evangelism luncheon at Annual Meeting, Atchison preached on "dreaming in league with God" and the story of Joseph in Genesis 37.
"We're committed to changing the world through Texas," he said. "If we're going to dream in league with God, we must seek our dreams from the divine. The text says Joseph dreamed a dream that God gave him. God is still in the dream-giving business, and you would do yourself a favor to seek your dreams from God."
He challenged his listeners to ask God to "do something incredible." He also said when we ask God to direct our dreams, He will provide dreams that are the right size and the right substance.
Atchison emphasized the importance of sharing dreams with discretion. There is nothing more dangerous, he said, than sharing your dream with people who do not dream. Joseph's story proves this rule; he was endangered by sharing his vivid dreams with his brothers, who felt threatened and enraged by what they heard.
The final key, he said, is to secure your dream with determination. Joseph didn't go directly from his dreams to the palace. He suffered greatly on the path to his dream — left for dead in a pit, slandered and falsely accused in Potiphar's house and finally locked in prison.
"Just because you're in a pit doesn't mean God's not taking you to your dream," Atchison said.
The most encouraging thing to remember, he continued, was a refrain found throughout the life of Joseph: "And the Lord was with Joseph."
Other members of the evangelism team reported on ways God is moving through Texas Baptists evangelism efforts. Scott Willingham, apologetics specialist, reported that 3,878 people attended evangelism training through Texas Baptists' City Reach program this year. He said 56 churches were strengthened in evangelism and there were 1,078 professions of faith.
The evangelism team gave two block party trailers to Denton Baptist Association and Collin Baptist Association, with a third trailer to be given to Lake Ivie Baptist Association soon. The new block party trailers have already been put to good use by small church plants, Willingham said. Eighty people recently attended a Sunday morning pancake breakfast hosted by a small Aubrey church in a local park. Another church was able to use resources provided by Texas Baptists to purchase inflatables and partner with a local elementary school to help run a fall festival for children and families.
Additionally, Greg Wallace, chair of the evangelism committee for the executive board, said that evangelism ministries partnered with Bill Glass prison ministry to visit 20 juvenile and adult detention facilities as well as several homeless shelters to share to good news of Jesus Christ. More than 8,000 adult and juvenile offenders and 300 homeless individuals heard the Gospel through this effort and 2,878 made professions of faith, with about 1,100 of those being first-time decisions for Christ.
Lauren Sturdy serves as Prospect Research Coordinator for Buckner International.