Evangelism of Family Is Crying Concern

by Norm Miller

Evangelism often is a family matter, Bobby Welch told students at Liberty University.

Welch—who last summer visited churches in all 50 states and Canada on his "Everyone Can' Kingdom Challenge" for evangelism—reiterated his conviction that Christians must be urgent about sharing the gospel with any and all who will listen.

Welch recalled the sense of urgency he had for the salvation of his mother and brother many years ago. Just back from Vietnam and healing from the severe wounds that almost claimed his life, Welch related his attempt to tell his mother about Jesus Christ and her need to commit her life to Him.

Saying his mother "lived in an era when real women smoked real cigarettes," Welch described the way she would inhale the smoke deeply and then exhale though her nose and mouth and also talk at the same time. "My mother had a way of narrowing her eyes, lowering her head, and exhaling smoke that would terrify me when I was a boy," Welch recounted. "She was like a fire-breathing dragon getting ready to pounce." And that's what she did when Welch tried to tell her about Jesus.

"She took a long drag off that cigarette and said, Bobby, did I ever ask you for advice when I was raising you and your brother?'" Welch said. And before he could answer, she replied for him, "No."

She then said there were two people in the house and one was about to have to leave. "And since I own this place, that's you,'" Welch quoted.

"Here I was, Big, Bad Bobby,' fresh back from the war," but he started to shed tears, which his mother saw as he left the room and walked out of the house and down the sidewalk. "I was the saddest boy in all the world."

A couple of weeks later, Welch had just finished preaching in his home town church when two people made their way down to the front of the auditorium at the end of the service. Welch finally realized the two were his mother and his brother, to whom he also had witnessed. They knelt, prayed, and committed their lives to Christ, and later Welch baptized them.

Welch said he cried again because "I was the happiest boy in all the world."

His mother didn't come to Christ, Welch said, because "I was a cool witness or knew all the right things to say. She became a Christian because I tried and I cried."

Citing Psalm 126:6, Welch said the gospel message of Jesus Christ is "precious seed" and that telling others about Jesus is the "going forth" the verse notes. "You've got to try, and even cry if you have to" in order to reach others for the Lord, he said.

"Others" not only includes family members but also society at large, Welch said. He added that he senses as never before a spiritual hunger in the world, and that Christians need to be the ones helping to meet that need. "Seeing what God is doing outside the church is overwhelming," he said. "I mean, the world is waiting for what we have."

Welch, who is president of the Southern Baptist Convention, said that before delivering his message at Thomas Road Baptist Church, God had impressed him to focus on one thing for the sermon. "The Lord said, Son, you keep this in mind,'" he recounted. "I'm not sending you to this meeting to help Southern Baptists." He said God had commissioned him to represent all the children of Thomas Road members who don't attend church, as well as the members' friends, neighbors, and co-workers, "and for the multiplied millions who are out there searching" for spiritual meaning in life.

 "I can see you not getting excited or urgent about my folks in Daytona Beach," said Welch. "You don't know about my family and friends. But what about your own family? What about your own friends? You've got to get urgent about them. You've got to."

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