By Shannon Baker,BCM/D National Correspondent
TOWSON, Md.—Byron Day, president of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware and senior pastor of Emmanuel Church in Laurel, Md., is glad that somebody connected him to Jesus.
A keynote speaker for the Monday evening session of the Nov. 8-10 annual meeting of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware in Towson, Md., Day asked, “How many non-Christian friends do you have?” He conceded, “We get so used to church folk and people like us, that we don’t even know how to connect with others.”
Pointing to the New Testament story of when Jesus healed Jairus’ daughter, Day noted that people today are looking for their real physical needs to be met.
“They want a personal touch,” he explained.
As Jesus traveled to visit Jairus’ daughter, the crowd gathered around him. Yet, He connected with people one person at a time, including a woman who had had an incurable disease for 12 years.
“Jesus always had time to reach out to the individual,” Day said, explaining the importance of investing in others’ lives. ”We must adopt this concern if we are going to connect with our world.”
Day asserted, “There’s a world out there disconnected because we don’t want to connect with them” because of their illness, skin color or education.
Conversely, Jesus ate with the publicans and the sinners.
“We’ve got to be very careful that we don’t fail to reach out, no matter what,” Day said, stressing that everyone is a sinner. “Let’s do some extraordinary things and step out of our comfort zone.”
Day suggested that his listeners consider ways to reach out in their own neighborhoods, to participate in “high-touch” ministries like feeding the homeless, or taking up hobbies intentionally to interact with nonbelievers.
“People are hurting. They are trying everything to fill their need,” Day said. “We’ve got the answer, and we need to give it away.”