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Pastors’ Conf. reaches 60 scholarships awarded

PHOENIX (BP) — The Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference has announced 30 additional recipients of $1,000 scholarships to attend the Pastors’ Conference and SBC annual meeting this summer in Phoenix, bringing the total number of scholarships awarded to 60.

Pastors’ Conference leaders projected initially that 5-20 scholarships would be funded for pastors not otherwise able to make the trip to Phoenix. The first round of 30 scholarships was announced April 20.

“From the beginning,” Pastors’ Conference President Dave Miller said, “our goal was to do two things: to bless the pastors that come and to get as many pastors there as possible. … People have said there wasn’t going to be good attendance in Phoenix” because of its distance from many Bible Belt churches. “So we thought, let’s help some guys get there.”

The Pastors’ Conference will feature preaching, worship and prayer to undergird the ministry of pastors and their wives. The sessions at the Phoenix Convention Center will be held June 11-12, prior to the SBC’s June 13-14 annual meeting there. The 12 conference preachers lead churches ranging in size from approximately 60 to 500 worship attendees.

A May 4 post on the SBC Voices blog announced the latest scholarship recipients, noting $17,000 of the $60,000 awarded thus far has come from donors who designated gifts specifically to scholarships.

Miller, pastor of Southern Hills Baptist Church in Sioux City, Iowa, told Baptist Press the remaining scholarship funds were drawn from money raised in excess of the Pastors’ Conference budget.

“We received generous support throughout the convention from some state conventions, entities, a lot of churches and individuals,” Miller said, noting in particular the support of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s Caskey Center for Church Excellence. “We also raised some funds ourselves and were able to” fund a second round of scholarships.

The May 4 SBC Voices post announced several scholarship donors: Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala.; Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Fla.; Cornerstone Fellowship Baptist Church in Haskell, Texas; North Carolina Baptists’ Biblical Recorder newsjournal; and individuals who contributed through the North Carolina Baptist Foundation.

BP noted previously announced donors here.

A full list of scholarship recipients is available on SBC Voices.

Miller said scholarships have been awarded based solely on the order in which applications from qualified pastors were received. No one was “chosen” over anyone else, he said.

To qualify for a scholarship, applicants had to pastor churches with average worship attendance of fewer than 200 people, and the congregations they lead had to be “either unable or unwilling to fund expenses” for Pastors’ Conference attendance, according to a March 30 SBC Voices post announcing the scholarships.

Pastors’ Conference leaders do not anticipate any additional scholarship awards “unless a large amount of money comes in,” Miller said.

The Biblical Recorder urged readers in a May 1 editorial by editor Allan Blume to help ensure sufficient funds for more Pastors’ Conference scholarships. The Recorder said it will collect donations through its website and forward them to the Pastors’ Conference scholarship fund.