SAN ANTONIO (BP)–This year’s SBC Pastors’ Conference will feature great preaching, but it also will include something many Southern Baptists may not have seen — key leaders opening up to tell how Christ brought them through low moments of their lives.
Pastors’ Conference President Hayes Wicker has asked four current or former entity presidents to give personal testimonies in San Antonio about the “valleys” in their Christian walk. For instance, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. will speak about his time in intensive care last year with a life-threatening pulmonary emboli. Also scheduled to give personal testimonies during the June 10-ll conference are GuideStone Financial Resources’ O.S. Hawkins, former LifeWay Christian Resources President James T. Draper Jr. and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Paige Patterson.
“These men are really baring their hearts in a way that is not normally done,” said Wicker, pastor of First Baptist Church in Naples, Fla. “Normally they are in a preaching, leadership role, teaching Scripture. But this is an opportunity for them to say, ‘Here’s what God did in my life; He can do the same in your life.’ It’s going to be very difficult for them to talk about these things. They are doing this because I felt led to ask them.
“I believe it will promote connectivity with our leaders out among the grassroots folks. They will be seen not as these larger-than-life figures, but as real people who struggle with real problems like the rest of us.”
Likewise, pastors’ wives will be able to hear Kathy Ferguson — whose husband Rick died in a 2002 car accident — speak during the Pastors’ Wives’ Conference Monday, June 11. Rick Ferguson was pastor of Riverside Baptist Church in Denver.
“She will be sharing about Rick’s death and all that they went through,” Wicker said. “That will be very powerful.”
Patterson will speak Sunday evening, June 10, while Hawkins will speak on Monday afternoon and Mohler and Draper Monday evening.
Monday morning will once again feature breakout sessions (dubbed “elective seminars”) with various speakers at 8:30 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. At 11 a.m., everyone will come together for a prayer gathering led by T.W. Hunt.
“The purpose is not primarily for T.W. to teach us about prayer, but to guide us in a prayer experience,” Wicker said.
Each breakout session will feature six electives from which to choose. One of those includes a “pastors’ symposium,” with four men speaking 10 minutes each on a specific topic (such as discipleship, “the alcohol question” or expository preaching). The remaining time will be left for questions from the audience.
The complete Pastors’ Conference schedule is available online at www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=25545. The complete Pastors’ Wives’ Conference is available at www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=25668