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Pastors’ Conference takes on aura of old-fashioned revival meeting

ORLANDO, Fla. (BP)–Anticipate an old-fashioned camp meeting-style revival at the Pastors’ Conference preceding this year’s Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting, said Jerry Sutton, pastor of Two Rivers Baptist Church, Nashville, Tenn., and president of the Pastors’ Conference.

“We are really excited about this year’s conference,” Sutton said of the June 11-12 event in Orlando, Fla. “It’s looking more and more like a camp meeting revival.”

In what Sutton called a first for the conference, this year’s overall theme, “Partners in the Harvest,” will reflect the SBC’s Cooperative Program emphasis for 2000.

The theme for Sunday evening is “Harvest in My Personal Life,” with messages presented by Jim Henry, Hayes Wicker, Jay Strack and Jerry Vines. Themes for Monday’s sessions include “Harvest in My Church” and “Harvest in My World.”

In a departure from tradition, the Pastors’ Conference will begin on Sunday night instead of the usual Sunday afternoon kickoff. “In the past, many pastors could not attend the first session because of responsibilities at their churches,” Sutton said. “Starting in the evening will allow those pastors to attend their churches in the morning and make the first session in Orlando.”

Sutton has also extended a personal telephone invitation to every Southern Baptist congregation in Orlando to attend the Sunday evening worship service.

And the revival “style” won’t be limited to just preaching. Sutton said plans are in the works to feature a 250-voice revival choir, comprised of choir members from Orlando’s Southern Baptist churches. “This is part of an effort to incorporate the churches in Orlando. We wanted to include the small church choirs as well as the large church choirs,” Sutton said.

“Sunday evening’s session will include important messages that will touch the hearts of the people of Orlando and the people throughout the nation,” Sutton said. “We live in a day of incredible harvest. Harvest implies fruitfulness and it implies that God is actively involved — not only in us — but through us.”

Pastors’ Conference speakers, session by session, will be:

— Sunday, June 11, 6 p.m.: Jim Henry, senior pastor, First Baptist Church, Orlando, Fla.; Hayes Wicker, senior pastor, First Baptist Church, Naples, Fla.; Jay Strack, evangelist from Orlando; Jerry Vines, senior pastor, First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Fla.

— Monday, June 12, 8:30 a.m.: Rodney Gage, family author from Fort Worth, Texas; Ken Whitten, senior pastor, Idlewild Baptist Church, Tampa, Fla.; Charles Lowery, senior pastor, Hoffmantown Church, Albuquerque, N.M.; and James Merritt, senior pastor, First Baptist Church, Snellville, Ga.

— Monday, June 12, 1:25 p.m.: Charles “Chuck” McAlister, senior pastor, Second Baptist Church, Hot Springs, Ark.; Curt Dodd, senior pastor, First Baptist Church, Merritt Island, Fla.; Steve Gaines, senior pastor, Gardendale’s First Baptist Church, Gardendale, Ala.; Albert R. Meredith, senior pastor, Wedgwood Baptist Church, Fort Worth, Texas.

— Monday, June 12, 6 p.m.: Ken Freeman, evangelist from San Antonio, Texas; Adrian P. Rogers, senior pastor, Bellevue Baptist Church, Cordova, Tenn.; Johnny Hunt, senior pastor, First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Ga.; and Fred Wolfe, evangelist from Mobile, Ala.

Special musical guests include Dan Oxley, a former member of the contemporary gospel group Truth; Tom Shumate; John and Suzanne Rushing; and Carolyn Reed

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  • Todd Starnes