by Norm Miller
CLEVELAND, Ga., (TMNews)—A former Muslim and former Hindu signed a pact to share the gospel of Jesus Christ in North America.
Officials representing Truett-McConnell College and the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board inked a partnership agreement that will equip students, staff and faculty interested in sharing the Christian faith across North America via the telephone and Internet.
Dr. Emir Caner, president of Truett-McConnell College and ex-Muslim, along with Dr. N.S.R.K. Ravi, coordinator of NAMB’s Evangelism Response Center and ex-Hindu, signed the pact during the college’s Feb. 27 chapel service, where Ravi also preached.
President Caner told the crowd that, in signing the agreement, he and Dr. Ravi would “officially covenant together, and put our arms around each other for one singular reason: that the world may know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.”
The agreement specifies that Truett-McConnell will supply the people, and NAMB will train them to use the ERC, which offers 24/7 assistance – in English and Spanish – and “equips and mobilizes Southern Baptists to offer prayer and spiritual counseling via telephone or online chat with people all over North America,” says NAMB’s website. “The goal is to point individuals to the life-changing hope found in Jesus Christ, then point them to a local church for follow-up on their decision.”
Citing the students’ historical and continual local and global evangelism efforts, Caner said, “There are always more ways to share the Lord Jesus Christ” with those who are secluded and hard to find.
“Someone calls you, or they find you on the Internet, and they’re opening their heart to you,” said Caner, explaining how ERC works. “They’re lost. They don’t know anything about eternity; they’ve given up on life. Then you get to share the hope that you found in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
NAMB offered three training sessions on the campus, noted Caner, adding that the sessions provide “all the tools” to share the gospel “with anyone, at any time, anywhere
Joining dozens of students in the training sessions were two of Truett-McConnell’s vice presidents, six staff members, and two from the faculty, bringing the total number of trainees to 42.
According to a Baptist Press story, Patricia Zimmerman is a retired registered nurse and substitute teacher, who has led hundreds of people to Christ via the ERC from her rural home in the Ozark Mountains.
“My biggest job is to reach people for Jesus,” she says. “The people who call are like ripe fruit. Others have usually witnessed to them and prepared their hearts. All I have to do is pick the fruit.”
Ravi said about 2,000 people per year come to faith in Christ through the ERC, and about 1,500 of them join local churches.
The Evangelism Response Center may be resourced by evangelistic television/radio programming, newspaper ads, gospel tracts, websites, billboards, and any other media sharing the biblical message of salvation in Jesus Christ.
People responding to these media may access real-time, personalized assistance by calling 1-888-Jesus20 or 888-701-4673. Assistance also is available at www.findithere.com.
Truett-McConnell joins the swelling ranks in this evangelistic endeavor, which include the Southern Baptist Convention’s six seminaries; the Florida Baptist college; scores of Southern Baptist state conventions, local associations, agencies and churches; and thousands more volunteers across North America, who, in the privacy and comfort of their homes share the gospel with receptive people from the United States and Canada.
John Yarbrough, Truett-McConnell’s director of alumni relations, was vice president for evangelism at NAMB as the ERC developed, and he helped facilitate the TMC-NAMB partnership agreement.
“When considering our college’s mission statement, and the desire of our administration and faculty to equip students to fulfill the Great Commission,” Yarbrough said, “the connection to the ERC is a hand-in-glove fit for Truett-McConnell.”
For more info about NAMB’s Evangelism Response Center, and to discover how you can participate, or, for those who desire their churches to become an ERC “covenant church” in follow-up ministry, go to https://www.namb.net/erc/
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