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Pastors Conf. again to include seminars

SAN ANTONIO (BP)–For the second year in a row, the SBC Pastors’ Conference will feature Monday morning breakout seminars — something that proved very successful last year.

But Pastors’ Conference President Hayes Wicker doesn’t want Southern Baptists to think the seminars are the highlight of the conference, which will be held June 10-11 in San Antonio. In fact, Jerry Vines and Chuck Colson will speak during the first session, held on Sunday evening, while the Monday afternoon and evening sessions will feature James MacDonald, James Merritt and Johnny Hunt, among others.

The conference’s theme is “Jesus Christ … From Him, Through Him, To Him,” a reference to Romans 11:36.

For a complete schedule of events, click here.

The Pastors’ Wives session of the Pastors Conference will take place on Monday beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the convention center’s Lila Cockrell Theatre. For a schedule of the Pastors’ Wives session, click here.

“Our desire is to, first and foremost lift up Jesus Christ and focus on Him — and not just programming or paradigms or controversial issues,” Wicker, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Naples, Fla., told Baptist Press. “That one passage of Scripture says to me everything about the Christian life and Christ’s victory and sufficiency that we need so much.”

The conference, Wicker said, will focus on “how Jesus Christ lives His life through us, and how that relates to various areas such as discipleship, evangelism, missions and engaging the culture.”

One conference highlight likely will be personal testimonies by current or former SBC entity heads, who will tell how Christ brought them through the valleys in their lives. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson will speak Sunday evening about “Christ’s victory in spite of opposition” and GuideStone Financial Resources President O.S. Hawkins will speak Monday afternoon about “Christ’s victory in spite of affliction.” Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. (“Christ’s victory in spite of pain”) and former LifeWay Christian Resources President Jimmy Draper (“Christ’s victory in spite of temptation”) will speak Monday evening.

“They’re going to be so open and honest that it’s going to blow people away,” Wicker said. “I don’t think some people have heard these men speak personally and so transparently on matters like this. They’re familiar with their preaching and their teaching, but not the personal challenges of brokenness that have brought blessedness.”

Wicker said he received “very positive feedback” about last year’s breakout seminars, which were implemented by then-SBC Pastors’ Conference President Bryant Wright. There are two breakout sessions this year, at 8:30 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. Monday. Everyone will then come together for a prayer gathering led by author T.W. Hunt.

Among the breakout seminar speakers are Crown Financial Ministries’ Howard Dayton (who will speak on “Equipped for Personal Finances”), Family Matters’ Tim Kimmel (“Equipped for Effective Parenting”) and “The Five Love Languages” author Gary Chapman (“Equipped for a Fulfilled Marriage”). For the first time, each session also will include a roundtable discussion by various Baptist ministers on a host of topics. The 8:30 a.m. roundtable will focus on “affecting change, reaching the next generation, worship and discipleship” while the 9:45 roundtable will cover “expository preaching, evangelism, the alcohol question and cross-cultural missions. (For a complete list of speakers, see the Pastors’ Conference schedule.)

Among Sunday evening’s preachers are Vines, former president of the SBC, and Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries. MacDonald, senior pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Wheaton, Ill., and leader of the Downpour conferences, will preach Monday afternoon, as will Michael Catt, senior pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church (Albany, Ga.), which produced the “Facing the Giants,” the faith-based movie that was made on a $100,000 budget but made $10 million. Merritt and Hunt are among Monday evening’s preachers. The conference will feature contemporary, blended and traditional music.

“I tried to find speakers whose life and ministry exemplified the theme,” Wicker said. “With the exception of Chuck [Colson], they are pastors in local churches and represent a variety of styles, ages and different ways of ministering. I want to emphasize a true expository handling of the Word of God as a model to all of our pastors. Outstanding communicators of different ages, who have never preached on a national level, will also give us fresh insights.”

Wicker said he hopes the Pastors’ Conference promotes a biblical topic he and the late Adrian Rogers discussed in 2005.

“Our pulpit was Dr. Adrian Rogers’ last place to preach,” Wicker said of First Baptist in Naples. “The very last night he was here — he died less than a month later — we were having dinner together and he shared with me his burden that we [as Southern Baptists] had gotten away from the wonderful truths of the Spirit-filled life. We agreed together that if God would allow me some leadership opportunities, that I would focus on the truths that God used to encourage Dr. Rogers and me years ago. I have a real burden that we, as Baptists, get back to the true power of the fullness of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

“… I’m praying that we will come together as a convention regardless of our different groups, styles, ages and ethnicity and really seek the Lord’s face in revival together.”

    About the Author

  • Michael Foust