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Conference buoys pastor, wife at outset of new church start

EDITORS’ NOTE: When LifeWay Christian Resources intern reporter Bill Seaver learned Greg and Denise Lindsey of Pinson, Ala., received an all-expense-paid trip to the National Conference for Church Leadership at Glorieta, N.M., he decided to talk to them before, during and after their trip. The following is Bill’s report.

GLORIETA, N.M. (BP)–Greg and Denise Lindsey have become accustomed to “firsts” lately.

Greg, former pastor of Hughes Memorial Baptist Church, Pinson, Ala., was chosen to receive an all-expenses-paid scholarship to attend the National Conference for Church Leadership (NCCL) in Glorieta, a LifeWay Conference Center. This was the first of many firsts to come.

For Greg and Denise, this is the first time away from their three children, the first time to a conference together, their first trip to New Mexico and their first time at NCCL.

The Lindseys have another first to think about — their first church plant. After eight years at Hughes Memorial, Greg accepted a position to start a church in Wedgefield, Fla., a new community east of Orlando.

With thoughts on leaving their church in Alabama and starting from scratch in a new state, Greg and Denise arrived at NCCL hoping to relax and learn about the new ministry opportunity that lies ahead.

Before launching a new church, Greg was hoping to take workshops about being a better leader and conflict manager. He also wanted to attend classes that could answer his questions about starting a new church and address his and Denise’s anxieties.

“I’m just praying that every need will be met.”

About halfway through the week at NCCL, Greg and Denise met and shared with a couple who started a church about a year ago.

“It was encouraging to talk about the challenges and struggles of starting a new church with someone who was where we are a year ago,” Greg said. “It was extremely helpful to be able to ask questions and learn from their experiences. It also helped Denise deal with the fears of going to start a church.”

Both Denise and Greg said they were encouraged by their conversations with other couples and attending sessions.

“I attended Carol Ann Draper’s conference called ‘You’re Going to Make It,’ and those were some words that I really needed to hear,” Denise said. “I heard a lot about going through trials. I was reminded of the need to keep my focus on eternal things and not the temporal. I was encouraged to do what I know is right and keep the Word so I’ll be more ready for the next time.”

Through the course of the week Greg and Denise participated in several sessions dealing with topics from financial help and retirement planning to keeping a heart for ministry.

For Greg and Denise, the NCCL week proved to be more important than they could have ever imagined when they started making arrangements for the trip several months ago. With anxious anticipation for starting the new church and the emotional strain of leaving longtime friends in Alabama, Greg and Denise said they left the conference refreshed and ready to accept whatever the future holds.

“It was exactly what we needed,” said Greg a week after NCCL. “We were encouraged to persevere and keep going in what God’s called us to do. It helped me remember the priority of prayer. I know I’m not adequate to start a church so I was reminded at how much I need God to bring this whole thing to pass. We want to prayerfully grow the church one member at a time.”

For further information on the National Conference on Church Leadership at the Glorieta conference center or Ridgecrest conference center in 2001, call (615) 251-2055 or email [email protected].
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at www.sbcbaptistpress.org. Photo title: GREG AND DENISE LINDSEY.

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  • Bill Seaver