By Kevin Hogencamp
Dr. Jim Naylor has been helping save souls for decades; now, he’s stepping up his game.
His motivation: A Georgia Baptist Convention (GBC) statistic that shows that 643 of the organization’s member churches did not conduct a Baptism in 2010. Additionally, more than 700 churches conducted only one to three Baptisms during the year, according to the GBC.
“If it’s the same thing in other denominations, then we’re in trouble,” said Naylor, a retired Albany pastor who is a member of Gillionville Baptist Church. “This breaks my heart.”
Calling the annual statistics an “eye-opener”, Naylor is spreading the word to churches that he is available to them at no charge.
“We have the Holy Spirit to empower us. We have the Holy Scriptures to guide us. So why are we failing,” Naylor said in a letter he is sending to more than 100 area churches.
Naylor says that he has led 25 people to Christ since November while filling in for pastors at area churches. Spurred by the GBC statistics, Naylor converted an old sermon into a new soul-saving Bible study and sermon titled “Love in Action”.
“I kind of get down to the nitty-gritty. I call a spade a spade, and if I can do it, anybody can,” Naylor said. “The question is, why aren’t we all bringing people to the Lord.”
“I’m not looking for the masses to be at my Bible study,” he said. “All I’m looking for is to get two or three people at each church that I preach at who would be willing to sit down and study the lesson. It includes step-by-step instructions on how to lead someone to Christ.”
Naylor said the following excerpt from an unattributed poem puts his mission in perspective:
You lived next door to me for years;
We shared our dreams, our joys and tears.
A friend to me you were indeed,
A friend who helped me when in need.
My faith in you was strong and sure;
We had such trust as should endure.
No spats between us ever arose.
Our friends were like – and so our foes.
What sadness, then, my friend, to find,
That after all, you weren’t so kind.
The day my life on earth did end
I found you weren’t a faithful friend.
For all those years we spent on earth,
You never talked to second birth.
You never spoke of my lost soul,
And of the Christ who’d make me whole.
“One man maybe can’t solve the problem, but one man can maybe do a little something to help,” he said. “I don’t have a lot of my money, but I have my Lord as my personal savior and He said, ‘Go ye and preach the gospel …’ and that’s what I’m doing.”
To contact Dr. Naylor, call 432-1003 or 395-4624.