During the Pastors Conference preceding this year’s Southern Baptist Convention, one of the sessions featured messages by three pastors known for reaching young urban adults: Nelson Searcy, lead pastor of The Journey in New York City; Erwin McManus, lead pastor of Mosaic Church in Los Angeles; and Kerry Shook, lead pastor of Fellowship of The Woodlands [now Woodlands Church] in The Woodlands, Texas.

Searcy challenged pastors to embrace the high responsibility of training church members to share the Gospel to people outside the church: “God has entrusted pastors to be the equippers of those on the inside [of the church] so they may effectively reach those on the outside.”

Speaking from Colossians 4, Searcy challenged pastors to pray with confidence, preach with clarity and prepare with care as they lead their churches. To reach a lost world with the gospel, he added, pastors must teach their church members to pray. “We must lead our churches to be churches of prayer, fervently praying that those on the outside may become part of the people on the inside. The greatest resource that we have as Christians in reaching today’s world is the spiritual resource of prayer.”

McManus used the account of Paul on Mars Hill to emphasize the importance of sharing the gospel in a culturally relevant way. McManus said today’s generations live in a modern-day Mars Hill, surrounded by people who believe in many gods and called to help them know the “unknown God” of Acts 17, who is the one true God.

“The church isn’t here for us. We are the church, and we are here for the world,” McManus said. “We need to become prophets of the unknown God. We must be the ones who say, ‘We have seen the invisible, we have experienced the unimaginable and we are here to tell you that what you do not know can be known.’…God is the unknown God, but He is not the unknowable God.”

Like McManus, Shook also emphasized the importance of being culturally relevant in sharing the gospel.

“We have to wake up and realize we are now missionaries in a foreign culture,” Shook said. “Just as a missionary has to be trained in the language before they go overseas to minister, we need to be trained in the language of the unchurched so we can share the never-changing message of the gospel in their language, so they can understand it.” (Baptist Press, 6/13/06; click here to read the full article.)

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