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Pastors’ Conference to focus on health of pastor’s family

PHOENIX (BP)–A focus on strengthening America’s families — particularly those of the pastor and the church — will dominate this year’s Pastors’ Conference.

Based on the theme “Building Kingdom Families,” the 2003 Pastors’ Conference will feature such prominent speakers as Howard Hendricks, David Jeremiah, Josh McDowell, Adrian Rogers and Johnny Hunt. The conference will conclude with the Southern Baptist Convention’s first-ever “Kingdom Family Rally” Monday evening, June 16, hosted by singer Steve Green and his wife Marijean, with special speakers Dennis and Barbara Rainey of FamilyLife Today and SBC Council on Family Life leader Tom Elliff and his wife Jeannie. Pastors, church staff members and laypeople from across the country are invited to attend.

The Pastors’ Conference sessions will be held in the Phoenix Civic Plaza prior to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting there.

Pastors’ Conference President Mac Brunson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, said the reasoning behind the theme is simple – America’s families are in need of a spiritual awakening.

“I don’t know anything else that is more needed today than that,” he said. “I don’t know any area that is more critical than that.”

Because of a pastor’s leadership role, his marriage often serves as a model for others, Brunson added. “Statistics are telling us that pastors’ families are in real trouble,” he said. “There is a critical need for … help for pastors’ families.

“A church is going to take on the personality and the flavor of the pastor,” he said. “What he does in his family speaks so much louder than anything he says in the pulpit — how he treats his wife, how he treats his kids, what he does with his family.

“[Church members] can hear him preach, but if there’s nothing of substance there in his own life and in his own home, they know it’s hypocrisy.”

Pastors also deal with marital problems within their church on a regular basis, Brunson added. Research by George Barna backs Brunson on this: The divorce rate among Christians is identical to that of non-Christians.

“If there’s one area that most pastors need help in the church it’s, ‘How do I help the families in my church?’ Our families in the church are in trouble,” Brunson said. “How do we divorce-proof and affair-proof our marriages? How can we as pastors minister to the families in our church?”

The conference will include pastors from both large and small churches, Brunson said, adding that he chose speakers who preached “the Word expositionally.”

“If there’s a second thing that pastors need modeled for them, [it’s] expositional preaching,” he said. “Beyond that, I picked men who I knew in their own personal lives they were committed to their families.”

Southern Baptists, Brunson said, would be well served by attending the conference.

“I think every pastor and every staff member should try to get to Phoenix,” he said. “We want to minister to them in their own personal marriage but then to equip them to help others.”

The conference will be divided into four sessions, focusing on “Building Kingdom Families” in America, in the church, “in our homes” and “Building Kingdom Families to reach the world.”

Following is a complete schedule of speakers:

— Sunday, June 15, 5:30 p.m. (“Building Kingdom Families in America”): Hank Williams, evangelist, Hank Williams Ministries, Asheboro, N.C.; Howard Hendricks, chairman, Center for Christian Leadership, Dallas Theological Seminary; Josh McDowell, author/speaker, Josh McDowell Ministries, Dallas; Jerry Vines, pastor, First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, FL.

— Monday, June 16, 8:30 a.m. (“Building Kingdom Families in the Church”): Chip Roberson, pastor, Bethel Baptist Church, Chesapeake, Va.; Dennis Swanberg, humorist/author, Monroe, La.; Ergun Caner, Assistant Professor, The Criswell College, Dallas, Texas; Johnny Hunt, pastor, First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Ga.

— Monday, June 16, 1 p.m. (“Building Kingdom Families in our Homes”): Ken Whitten, pastor, Idlewild Baptist Church, Tampa, Fla.; Ted Traylor, pastor, Olive Baptist Church, Pensacola, Fla.; Tommy Nelson, pastor, Denton Bible Church, Denton, Texas; David Jeremiah, pastor, Shadow Mountain Community Church, El Cajon, Calif.

— Monday, June 16, 5:45 p.m. (“Building Kingdom Families to Reach the World”): Adrian Rogers, pastor, Bellevue Baptist Church, Cordova, Tenn.

— Monday, June 16, 7:15 p.m.: SBC’s first-ever Kingdom Family Rally, Steve and Marijean Green, host; Dennis and Barbara Rainey, FamilyLife Today, Little Rock, Ark.; Tom Elliff, pastor, First Southern Baptist Church, Del City, Okla., and his wife Jeannie. Video segments by Beth Moore of Houston and James and Shirley Dobson, Focus on the Family, Colorado Springs, Colo.

    About the Author

  • Michael Foust