“Use what you’ve got, because God has given you what you need.”

With that refrain, the Rev. Jerry Cannon exhorted the 400 participants at the 2013 Evangelism and Church Growth Conference of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to be strong and courageous in reaching out to a hurting world for Jesus Christ.

“Sometimes things are easier to talk about than to implement,” the Charlotte, N.C., pastor said. “It’s easier to say you want the church to grow than to be the servant of God and do what it takes to make it grow.”

Repeatedly citing his text for the conference’s Sept. 19 closing worship ― Joshua 1:6-9 ― Cannon urged the crowd to “be strong and courageous, don’t be terrified or discouraged because the Lord your God will with you wherever you go.”

God doesn’t believers to success but to faithfulness. “You would think it would be easier to be strong and courageous to be engaged in this thing called ministry,” he said. “You would think God would send us to people more interested in going to heaven than in raising hell.”

The world participants are going back to “is not as warm and fuzzy as what we’ve experienced here this week,” Cannon said. “But be strong and courageous because God has plowed the ground and planted the seed.”

Discipleship is not for the tepid-hearted, he continued. “If you don’t love your sheep, get out of the way because the sheep need a dedicated leader.”

And evangelism is not a numbers game, Cannon insisted. “It’s not how many people you have in the pew, but how much of Jesus Christ you have in your heart… Those people out there need a word of hope right now.”

The place to start is right here, right now, he said. “When you are in the Word and use what you have, it doesn’t matter where you start but how you end up.”

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, for instance, was drafted 199th in the National Football League draft, Cannon said. “He’s won, not one, not two, but three Super Bowls.”

“If you use what you have, God will bless you in wonderful ways,” Cannon concluded. “And when God blesses you and you live in the Word, God will bless many others through you.”