By Scott Barkley of The Christian Index, reprinted with permission.

BIRMINGHAM, AL — Jon Reed has noticed it. So has Keith Fordham. Ditto for Jerry Drace, Sammy Tippit, Frank Shivers, and Richard Hamlet.  

Calls echo through the Southern Baptist Convention for revival and a renewed dedication to evangelism. But, these evangelists and others like them are being called on less by churches.  

The day before the SBC annual meeting in Birmingham they sat down for coffee with The Christian Index. The topic of evangelism permeated the discussion, of course. But it also included how they answered the call to be an evangelist, where it has taken them, and new methods and technology have helped share the gospel worldwide.  


“I was a Wall Street guy,” Richard Hamlet admitted. Being an investment banker was good and gave him a comfortable life. Plus, he was good at it. Hamlet was a deacon at his church and checked off all the boxes of being a good Christian.   

When he was 35 years old Hamlet said he experienced a “heavy” evangelistic calling. He would go into full-time evangelism in 2003, preaching revivals in the Memphis area while being mentored by the late Stephen Olford, who was part of Hamlet’s ordination council.  

Later, Hamlet would also be mentored by Luis Palau in conducting open-air meetings. During his ministry Hamlet has been to 85 countries. This year travels include preaching in Angola and training pastors in Mozambique. 

Hamlet uses his background to better prepare pastors as they share the gospel.  

“I bring that into the mix so they can reach business people but also to learn to better support themselves,” he said. “I see more American pastors in the same position. It’s important to help them establish their platforms and become better at tent-making.” 

Preaching outside brings a different aesthetic to sharing the gospel, he said. 

“You’re outside the church walls, in the marketplace physically. It’s amazing to get to do that. 

“It’s multi-faceted, but all about the gospel.” 

To read the full article, please visit The Christian Index.