#Sharper2018: A Closer Look – Sarasota Baptist Church

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Ministry leaders attending Sharper! Sarasota Baptist Church began arriving at 8:00 AM on Thursday morning, and were welcomed into the auditorium at Sarasota Baptist Church for coffee and a continental breakfast. After pastors and church leaders had the opportunity to connect and fellowship with one another, they then spent some time in praise and worship and then heard the opening message from keynote speaker, seminary professor and author, Dr. Alvin Reid.

Dr. Reid opened and closed Sharper! Sarasota with two main sessions that encouraged and challenged participants to share Jesus by embracing their own personality traits and style of communication. Dr. Reid described his philosophy for getting people off the sidelines when it comes to personal evangelism by employing encouragement and resources, as opposed to using guilt or shame.

“I can tell you two things that are true of every person in this room – and in your church for that matter. You’re not where you thought you’d be by this point in your life, and you want to do something with your life that matter,” Reid said. “There are people in your church that really do want to make a difference for Christ!”

Words like these from Dr. Reid really resonated with those who had come, and, we pray, have launched them back to their home churches and places of ministry with enthusiasm and encouragement.

The theme for all of Sharper! Sarasota’s sessions were based on Alvin Reid’s latest book titled, “Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out: Evangelism the Way You Were Born to Do It.”  Each breakout session focused on what it could look like to apply these biblical principles and mind-sets in a variety of ministry contexts such as church planting, senior adult ministry, missions exposure and focus, family ministry, music ministry, ministry in the public school system and many more. Breakout sessions were lead by a variety of speakers that included Josh Reid (Dr. Reid’s son), Larry Snyder and Attila Kulcsar (church planters in Venice, FL), Nathan Schneider (BCM director at USF) and other pastors and staff of Sarasota Baptist Church.

As the southwest region of the state includes a large diversity of demographics and ethnicities, it was great to see a range of those diversities represented at Sharper! Sarasota. There were around 70 who came to attend the conference, and had traveled from a wide range of locations as far north as Temple Terrace, south to Cape Coral and Ft. Myers, and out west to Arcadia.

By Jared Windham, Sarasota Baptist Church, March 5, 2018

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