October 14, 2020
Sam Hollis knows what it’s like to need Jesus. He can vividly remember what his life and his heart felt like the day a pastor told him he thought God might call him to be a preacher one day. The teenaged Hollis discreetly gave the pastor the middle finger when he wasn’t looking.
“I thought, ‘Man you’re crazy. A preacher is the last thing in the world I’ll ever want to be,’” Hollis said.
But over time, through the preaching of the gospel, God got hold of Hollis’ heart and changed him. And when He did, He gave him a new passion — to help propel evangelism forward so that as many people as possible could hear the message that had changed him.
“I thought, ‘I’m not worthy to preach His message,’ but His message shot me straight through the heart,” said Hollis, now pastor of outreach at East Side Baptist Church, Cullman. “The greatest thing in all the world is to pass that on — to win souls for Jesus Christ.”
Over the years, he’s shared his faith personally and organized outreach events, but he’s also invested a lot of his life in writing books and discipleship materials to be used by individuals and groups in their own areas.
In recent years, he’s worked with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association on online outreach tools. And leading up to the 2004 election, he developed a 10-week guide called “Elect Jesus” to help churches start a revival in their communities.
Those materials are still available for associations that might be interested in printing and distributing them to their churches.
Sammy Gilbreath, longtime state evangelism director who now leads special event evangelism for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, said Hollis models what an evangelistic heart looks like.
“I have seen him give lead to associational evangelism events and get totally involved on statewide evangelism opportunities,” Gilbreath noted.
“He loves to tell people about Christ, and he gets excited about teaching others to share the gospel. I wish I could clone him and put one in every church and association.”