NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Henry Blackaby and Anne Graham Lotz will be the keynote speakers at a “Fresh Encounter” conference in February designed to show pastors and lay leaders God’s pattern for revival and spiritual awakening.
The conference, Feb. 27-28 at the Atlanta-area First Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Ga., is set to coincide with the release of a revised and expanded version of a book by the same name written by Blackaby and Claude King in 1996. Other plenary speakers will include Richard Blackaby, Mel Blackaby and Will Graham, and worship will be led by Rick Stone.
“Most people would tell you that the nation needs a fresh and deep touch of God in their own life or their churches or their ministries,” Henry Blackaby told Baptist Press, “but they don’t know how in the world to go about it and they don’t have a pattern from Scripture.”
Richard Blackaby said he is looking forward to three generations of his family speaking at the conference, which will include various workshops. In addition to his father, Richard Blackaby said his brothers Mel and Thomas, his sisters-in-law Gina and Kim, his mother Marilynn and his son Mike all will share their thoughts during the gathering.
“We’ll look at how you can help your children and grandchildren have their own fresh encounter with God,” said Richard Blackaby, who serves as president of Blackaby Ministries International.
“We can’t live with a secondhand faith,” he said. “We must have our own. But how do you pass it on? We’ll look at that. We are very excited about the Grahams and Blackabys teaming up to talk about encountering God and also passing on your faith to the next generations.”
Henry Blackaby said that while people across the nation desire revival, they too often confuse its purpose.
“We just pray for revival, which often means that there would be many lost people saved,” he said. “But revival is not for lost people. Revival is for God’s people. The term revive means ‘bring the life back.’ In too many of the churches today, we practice religious activity but there’s an absence of the power of God making life transformation or society transformation.”
Blackaby said each section of the Fresh Encounter book will have been revised when it is released in February, and they’re adding a chapter on revival in the family and another on revival in the workplace. The authors will address new themes such as “counterfeits to revival” and “catalysts for revival.” A good portion of the book’s material will be fleshed out at the conference.
“I’m convinced that God initiates what’s on His heart in the life of His people,” Blackaby said. “And if the leadership of the churches, both the pastors and the lay leadership and the leadership in the business community, have a sense that God is moving them to a higher level of relationship with Him and if they sense that God is saying He wants to make a huge difference through their lives, then this conference is for them.”
Blackaby said the conference will relay “practical guidance both in teaching and in application…. And I think the timing, knowing that we’ll have been through a presidential election, I think there’s a whole new dynamic in the nation and in the world. With terrorism committed to destroy Israel and America, it is a most timely conference to help God’s people to understand it’s either judgment or revival, and that decision is up to us.”
A website for the conference is expected to be launched soon, and more information can be obtained by e-mailing [email protected]. The cost is $59 for one person, $99 per couple and $49 for individuals attending in groups of 10 or more. Included in the cost is a copy of the revised Fresh Encounter book and a lunch on Saturday.
T.W. HUNT/‘ANSWERING THE CALL’
In related news, a prayer and discipleship conference initiated by T.W. Hunt, author of “The Mind of Christ,” is set for Aug. 4-6 at Spring (Texas) Baptist Church.
Keynote speakers and workshop leaders include Frank Page, immediate past president of the Southern Baptist Convention; James T. Draper Jr., former president of LifeWay Christian Resources; and Hayes Wicker, pastor of First Baptist Church in Naples, Fla., among others.
Mark Harrison, associate pastor of education at Spring Baptist, has been a key organizer. He told BP July 29 that more than 400 people from 13 states have registered for the “Answering the Call” conference, which grew out of a concern over a lack of prayer in today’s churches.
“The prayer ministries in churches that we visit and talk to often become relegated to secondary ministries within the church,” Harrison said. “Prayer meetings aren’t vibrant anymore or vital even to the church. It’s usually the older saints getting together and praying for the needs of the sick, which is important, but not a true calling upon the Lord to show Himself in power and to move mightily in the church.”
The hope of the conference organizers, he said, is for pastors and other leaders to go back to their churches and emphasize prayer and discipleship ministries as top priorities again.
“If we judge success according to biblical principles, success will be if people come to this conference and meet with the Lord,” Harrison said. “It really doesn’t matter how many people come. It’s how many people are impacted and therefore make an impact on the Kingdom.
“One of the things that we’ve tried to make known is this is not just a conference of how-to, it’s a conference where we’re calling people who are interested to pray and to seek the face of God,” Harrison said. “We’re not just going to give you 10 steps on how to build a vibrant prayer ministry. We’re going to actually pray together and spend some time seeking Him. That’s built into our time here.”
Visit www.prayerconference.org for more information.
DAN BISER/‘BROKEN BEFORE THE THRONE II’
Also coming up is “Broken Before the Throne II” Oct. 11-17 at Westview Baptist Church in Martinsburg, W.Va., a sequel to the prayer conference initiated last year by West Virginia pastor Dan Biser.
“Our main desire is still to prevail in prayer for the church in the U.S. and for our nation,” Biser told Baptist Press. “Our convention is in more need now than ever of prevailing prayer, and there are few that understand this and are willing to labor in prayer for souls and the Kingdom.
“Many want to give lip service to prayer, but few want to surrender to intercession and waiting upon the Lord,” Biser added. “Our conference will offer the opportunity to wait before Him and go in depth with prayer times.”
Speakers will include John McGregor of Canadian Revival Fellowship, author John Franklin, Bible teacher Al Wittinghill and evangelist Sammy Tippit. For more information visit www.brokenbeforethethrone.com.
Erin Roach is a staff writer for Baptist Press.