For 28 years, Dan Nelson has served as pastor of First Baptist Church in Camarillo, Calif. Pastor Nelson will submit a series of posts to SBCToday about people who influenced him for the sake of evangelism.
What a joy it is to be around Monty McWhorter, who has served in the Evangelism Division of the California Southern Baptist Convention for several decades. His son Randy is the present director of the Healthy Church Group and leader of the evangelism ministries in the CSBC. Monty grew up in California and has enjoyed several successful pastorates before coming to work with Harry Williams, the evangelism director during the early 1980s. Monty has led witness training schools and helped train evangelism directors in associations and churches in evangelism strategies. He has conducted two revival meetings in two churches in California that I have served as pastor.
Monty is an exciting preacher, who is known for his alliteration in his messages. He said, “Don’t be like the seminary professor who said you should never used alliteration in preaching because it’s silly, simple and superficial.” Monty’s messages sort of hang on alteration and are easily remembered because of this tools he employs in his preaching. Monty also is a student of great preachers — Adrian Rogers being one of his favorites.
I most appreciate Monty, though, for his persistent efforts to share Christ with others on a daily basis. Any encounter he has with someone is easily directed by him to the gospel. I love his method of sharing with at least one person daily it seems if not many this simple statement: “Has anyone told you today that Jesus loves you? He does, you know, more than you will ever know.” He then will use a gospel tract, saying the booklet tells you all about how he loves you. Many times at a restaurant or a store, it is not possible to sit down and talk with the person. But Monty’s question is thought provoking, and I would like to think that it is long remembered. It is so refreshing to see the way Monty does this everywhere he goes.
Monty is noted for his leading of witness training events. From personal experience I can attest that there were many times he has been a great encouragement to me and other pastors who have needed that kind of help. We can learn from Monty that the Great Commission is a call to take the gospel everywhere we go. The gospel should not be restricted to the church building or even special evangelistic events. It is the constant sharing of just simple truths as in Monty’s method that God can use to build an evangelistic climate in the church and community.
Monty is fun to be around, and that in itself is a tremendous witness for Christ. When the world can see that believers in Christ have fun serving and living for the Lord, it breaks down some of the barriers people have about Christians. These are barriers of false-assumptions people have erected, thinking that becoming a Christian is dull, drab and boring (There, I almost had 3 Ds). You may never know what Monty is going to say next, but you always know he will share a good word about the Lord.
Monty is still preaching around the Fresno area. He knows nothing of standing down from giving a testimony for our Lord. Wherever God leads Monty, you know that he will always be giving a consistent word for the Lord wherever he goes.
Another great evangelist who is with the Lord was Jimmy Nettles. He conducted three meetings in two of the churches where I served as pastor. We had a tremendous harvest of souls under his ministry in each meeting. Once, Jimmy gave a devotional at a pastors’ breakfast I attended. He said the 1954 campaign of “a million more in ‘54” featured people carrying New Testaments with them and sharing Christ with everyone they could. That is the reason so many came in to our churches that year, and baptisms increased. Jimmy used to say it seemed that every pastor was aggressive in their attempt to lead people to Christ.
Thinking about what Jimmy said reminded me of Monty, who is a true throwback to those days. He never has stopped sharing Jesus in an aggressive but loving way anywhere and everywhere he went. May we all follow his example. Our churches need more examples like this, and people’s lives can be changed through God using such consistent witnessing efforts. Thank you Monty McWhorter and Jimmy Nettles. You both are examples to all of us regarding what it means to consistently share Jesus with others.
Picture is of Monty McWhorter