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Young leaders summit called ‘fountain of wisdom’

[SLIDESHOW=50105]GLEN ALLEN, Va. (BP) — More than 70 church leaders age 40 and younger from across Virginia gathered at the Young Pastors’ Summit on Jan. 15, an annual event hosted by the Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia.

Clyde Meador, interim executive vice president of the International Mission Board, and Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, were keynote speakers. A panel of SBC of Virginia pastors and Christian leaders also led a discussion.

Sean Couch, pastor of Christiansburg Baptist Church, described the summit as “really encouraging…. It was just a fountain of wisdom. I was writing down as much as I could as quickly as I could.”

The summit is intended for encouraging and challenging young pastors and pastoral staff, part of the initiative by Brian Autry, executive director of the SBC of Virginia, to invest in young leaders.

“I really appreciate his desire to lead and spearhead this effort,” said KJ Washington, church planter apprentice at Village Church at the Chester campus, affirming “how all these young pastors are able to gather together and to experience just great teaching and great fellowship together.”

The summit provided a forum for young pastors to discuss issues, engage in partnership and foster fellowship in a context for honoring Scripture and fulfilling the Great Commission. Topics during the event included trusting people, changing congregational issues for young pastors, and why more young pastors will be involved in church revitalization.

“The early church didn’t have any of the overhead expenses of a building,” said John Puig, youth pastor at Midway Baptist Church in Phenix, “and were therefore able to put all the resources that would go into building and maintenance into ministry instead. The idea of getting smaller and being able to do more of the same [through the conference] is a great thing in my mind.”

Couch added, “For the SBC of Virginia to be able to invest in younger pastors like us, it really is a benefit to us to help us to realize we do matter to the Kingdom. We are invited to the table to talk, and we’re excited about what God is going to do next.”

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  • Ishmael LaBiosa