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95 education ministers, leaders find camaraderie at SBTS forum

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–Allan Taylor said the outcome of a recent meeting of Christian educators was an answer to his prayers.

Ninety-five ministers of education and denominational and state executives gathered at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for a Christian educator’s forum designed to help equip ministers for their task of serving local churches.

Taylor, minister of Christian education at the Atlanta-area First Baptist Church in Woodstock, said he had prayed that the conference would refresh and encourage Christian educators.

“I think the morale was good,” Taylor said. “I think the momentum was good because a lot of Christian educators sort of feel like they have the ‘Elijah syndrome,’ sort of like ‘Lord, I’m the only one You’ve got left,’ because their positions are of such low visibility in the church, sometimes they can feel that way.

“It was great for ministers of education to come together to have a little ‘iron sharpens iron’ camaraderie,” he added. “I think it’s refreshing to know that there are other people that love the Lord, that have the same heartbeat and passion that you do who are trying to do that same local work in their church. My prayer for this was that we would all be encouraged, and from that perspective, the forum was very successful.”

Brad Waggoner, dean of Southern Seminary’s school of leadership and church ministry, said the April 9 forum aimed at building rapport between education ministers. Waggoner said he also hoped to build a bridge between Christian education ministers and the seminary.

“I wanted to challenge these church leaders to be more intentional in identifying, recruiting, discipling future leaders and then to send them to Southern for their formal training,” Waggoner said.

“There are insufficient numbers of quality leaders for our local churches and for overseas ministry, and there must be a strong working relationship between the local churches and our seminaries in order to provide larger numbers of quality leaders for the future.”

Bill Taylor, director of network partnerships at LifeWay Christian Resources, was among the forum’s speakers. Taylor hoped the forum would build relationships between the education ministers of various churches.

“I think it’s a great start to building partnerships and renewing work between the churches, church leaders, the seminaries, LifeWay and the state associations,” Taylor said. “We need each other.

“We’ve seen great openness among all the groups. Nobody has an agenda, they were just interested in encouraging each other,” he said. “It’s been a blessing to have this dialogue and to hear some of these practitioners.”

Approximately 70 ministers of education attended the event, mostly from Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. State executives Bill Mackey (Kentucky), Steven Davis (Indiana) and Jack Kwok (Ohio) also attended.

Waggoner said Southern plans to host an annual conference for ministers of education to supply them with ongoing training and networking.

“The functions of Christian education have never been more important,” Waggoner said. “If our churches are going to be successful in evangelism, discipleship and equipping the laity, then the functions of Christian education must be alive and well. For this to happen we must have high quality leadership in the area of Christian education.”

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  • Jeff Robinson

    Jeff Robinson is director of news and information at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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