9Marks conf. at SEBTS focuses on church leadership
WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) — Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary hosted the ninth year of its 9Marks conference, Sept. 29-30, attended by 747 pastors, ministry leaders and students and viewed by more than 900 live online via Facebook.
Focusing on the topic of church leadership, featured speakers were Mark Dever, Jeramie Rinne, Danny Akin, Thabiti Anyabwile, Burk Parsons and H.B. Charles Jr.
Dever, senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., and president of the 9Marks church ministry, spoke on the process of pastoral transition within a church, such as the need for prayerfulness in considering the next pastor; the importance of relying on the leadership of church elders; and being open to pastors with varying educational backgrounds.
Dever noted that Christians should desire that their pastor exemplify “a self-givingness” in the “good authority” he exercises in the local church.
Rinne, senior pastor of Evangelical Community Church in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, spoke on the importance of humility in church leadership and the dangers of pride that come from success. Drawing from the rise and fall of King Uzziah in 2 Chronicles 26, Rinne noted that success ultimately comes from the Lord, which should enable pastors to be humble in ministry.
“That means that for us as pastors that one of the most important character qualities for leadership is that we be humble men, humble men who are dependent upon God,” Rinne said.
Akin, president of Southeastern, spoke Friday afternoon on the marks of trustworthy leadership from Psalm 101.
“A cynical, skeptical world is watching us and watching us very carefully,” Akin said. “Let them see men of integrity. Let them see wise and trustworthy leaders. Let them see men who faithfully follow in the footsteps of the Master.”
Anyabwile, pastor of Anacostia River Church in Washington, D.C., spoke Friday night on Colossians 4 and how “spreading the Gospel is a multi-ethnic team sport.” He outlined what he called the “four D’s of Gospel ministry” — dedication, devotion, diversity and direction.
“You will know a healthy partnership [within a church] when you see one,” Anyabwile said. “It will be focused on the task of spreading the Gospel with all the warmth of true friendship.”
Parsons, co-pastor of St. Andrews Chapel in Sanford, Fla., began the Saturday morning session with a message on how a pastor leads by example from 1 Peter 5.
“If you’re not being a shepherd, you’re not being faithful to what God has called you to be,” Parsons said.
In giving the example of Jesus, Parsons said, “Jesus didn’t just come and die for us, but He came and lived for us.”
Charles, pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., closed out the Saturday morning session speaking on Ephesians 4:11-16 and how a church grows and matures in the faith.
“You cannot have a high view of Christ and a low view of the church at the same time,” said Charles, president of the SBC Pastors’ Conference.
Throughout the conference, speakers participated in panel discussions moderated by Jonathan Leeman, editor of 9Marks.
Southeastern will host next year’s 9Marks conference, Sept. 28-29, focusing on missions. For more information about 9Marks, visit 9marks.org.
MBTS adds Spanish-language master’s degrees
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) — Expecting a significant need arising within the Southern Baptist Convention for Spanish-speaking pastors and ministry leaders, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has added two Spanish-language master’s degrees for pastoral ministry and for post-graduate study.
Beginning with its pilot “Leadership Practicum” course at the 2017 For the Church Conference on Midwestern’s Kansas City, Mo., campus, the seminary expanded the reach and accessibility of affordable theological training to leaders in the Hispanic church.
“We are living in an age where there is a dearth of pastors and ministry leaders across the spectrum in Southern Baptist and evangelical churches,” MBTS President Jason Allen said. “This is no different in the Hispanic church.
“One of our aims in existing for the church includes the training of pastors and ministry leaders to serve in multicultural contexts,” Allen said. “It is proven that those who can study and train in their heart languages will be most effective in their ministry calling. We are proud of our Asian studies department here, and through the addition of these two new Spanish-language degree tracks, we look to further strengthen our Hispanic studies department and offer solid, biblically based theological education to meet this growing demand within the Hispanic community.”
With a regular rotation of courses beginning in February 2018, each of the degree programs will be offered to students through a combination of online, campus hybrid/J-Term and conference-related courses.
Offerings within these programs are designed by Midwestern’s fulltime faculty members and taught by Spanish-speaking professors like Félix Cabrera, lead pastor of Iglesia Bautista Central in Oklahoma City, and Bobby Sena, who leads the Hispanic doctoral ministry program. A former national missionary with the North American Mission Board, Sena also serves as Hispanic relations consultant for the SBC Executive Committee.
Cabrera noted that while there is an awakening and desire to return to the truth of Scripture within the Hispanic church, there is still a need for a knowledge of “how to do church.”
“That is why our focus at Midwestern Seminary is to prepare the next generation of pastors not only with solid theological knowledge but also an ecclesiological understanding. The Spanish-speaking world desperately needs more pulpits and healthy churches.
“It is important that our future Hispanic pastors, not only in North America but also throughout the rest of the world, receive the best theological preparation. An important element is that it can be in the language they master and use. That is why we are committed to presenting a Spanish-speaking faculty to provide students with the best and most understandable tools they need.”
Cabrera added that the faculty under which the students study will be academically solid and will have pastoral experience.
“We want our students to feel the instruction of pastor/theologians who have evangelistic hearts and who have demonstrated throughout their ministries a passion for the local church,” he said.