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Pastors conf. to focus on Great Commission

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–The 2009 SBC Pastors’ Conference will focus on a passionate revival to the Great Commission, under the theme, “What If? One Mind. One Love. One Spirit. One Purpose.”

The conference will convene at 5:30 p.m. June 21 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky. Featured speakers include J.D. Greear of Summit Church in Durham, N.C.; Mike Landry of Sarasota (Fla.) Baptist Church; Francis Chan of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, Calif.; and David Platt of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala.

The program also includes former Southern Baptist pastor and 2008 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

The theme of the June 21-22 Pastors’ Conference is a counterfactual question, “What if?” said Ed Litton, president of the Pastors’ Conference and pastor of First Baptist North Mobile in Saraland, Ala. “A counterfactual is a mental tool historians sometimes use to clarify actual events in history when applied to subsequent events.

“The Southern Baptist Convention stands at a seminal moment in our history,” Litton said. “The idea of using a counterfactual in reverse, to help us think more clearly and see more plainly our place in history and God’s divine intervention, captured my imagination.”

The biblical foundation for theme is drawn from Philippians 2:2: “Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.”

As he consulted with SBC President Johnny Hunt about the need for a “Great Commission resurgence” among Southern Baptists, Litton found himself wondering how things would be different if all Southern Baptists truly had the mind, love, spirit and purpose of Christ.

“We came up with the idea of asking the simple question, ‘What if?'” Litton said. “If we answer that question correctly as God’s people, I am convinced we will experience a resurgence of the Great Commission in Southern Baptist life. It will help us focus in very difficult times in this country and throughout the world.

“We’re in a time of seismic change in our culture. There are huge shifts taking place and people are feeling a lot of economic pressure today,” Litton said. “There’s a palpable fear and, I sense, a withdrawing. That’s dangerous. The danger is that we’re going to kind of lock up and ride this thing out when we have a great opportunity to trust God, to believe God, and to reach out more during this crisis than ever before.”

The other featured speakers for the conference will be Johnny Hunt of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga.; Mac Brunson of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla.; Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship; Ed Stetzer of LifeWay Research; Tom Elliff, former SBC president and International Mission Board staff member; Michael Catt of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga.; and Fred Luter Jr. of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans.

More information about the 2009 SBC Pastors’ Conference program is available at www.sbcpc.net.
Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor Mark Kelly.

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