President of the Southern Baptist Convention, Bobby Welch, reached his 49th state Wednesday in a nationwide tour meant to motivate Southern Baptists to Witness, Win and Baptize One Million. After three hours and 15 minutes in a jet from Seattle, Wash., Welch reached Southern Baptists in Anchorage, Alaska to deliver a message to the Frozen Chosen.
"Christians in America need to build bridges, not forts," Welch told the Alaska Baptists gathered at Muldoon Road Baptist Church in Anchorage Welchs second to last stop on his "Everyone Can Kingdom Challenge for Evangelism" tour
Despite delivering nearly the same message in 48 other states, Welch was as fresh and energetic in Alaska as he was when the bus tour kicked off in Florida more than a month ago.
Upon his arrival, the SBC president was welcomed by a convention messenger from Fairbanks, Alaska in her native Eskimo language as she and messengers from around the state prayed together at the annual meeting of the Alaska Baptist Convention gathered.
It was yet another warm and appreciative reception by Baptists who have never before been visited by a sitting SBC president during their state convention. Although Alaska Baptists sometimes refer to themselves as the "Frozen Chosen," they love good preaching, the Baptist Press reported.
As Welch delivered the challenge to reach and baptize 1 million people in one year, the messengers responded with one of several rounds of applause, amens and knowing laughter. Welch spoke to them in simple words with his characteristic honest, straightforward delivery.
"We are suffering from good people doing good things but not doing the main thing," he said to more applause.
During the closing sermon, Welch encouraged Alaskan Baptists to make plans to attend the 2005 Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville, Tenn. He told them things there would be different from anything they had ever experienced.
"Don't ever forget how important it is when we put our resources together," Welch told the Southern Baptists of Alaska. "We must practice unity of giving as well as unity of going."
Even though a trip to Nashville would be a major excursion for an Alaskan, several state convention messengers committed to make every effort to be there.
After a brief stay in Alaska, Welch made his way to Hawaii, where his "The Everyone Can Kingdom Challenge for Evangelism" national tour was slated to conclude with its final rally.