Posts filed under: Church/Ministry

2016 SBC Pastor’s Conference Day 2


Today was the last part of the SBC’s Pastor Conference. It was a day that was filled with leaders sharing words of encouragement and wisdom with those in attendance. I thought that I’d share a few of the things that stood out to me.

  • Evangelism is focus.  The theme of this year’s Pastor’s Conference was centered around evangelism. All of the speakers shared from Ephesians 4. I thought that having many speak along the same lines and pretty much in succession through the text was really good. Sometimes those who are asked to speak/preach come and bring what’s big on their plate right now. This new format was nice and refreshing.
  • The age demographic is on the downward slope.  This is only the second SBC that I have had the opportunity to attend. One key thing stood out though: there are a LOT more young adults/families here this year. I’m not sure what the reason for that is (I’ve heard different ideas), but I’m thrilled to see it. As a younger adult myself (37 years old), it has been so encouraging to see other folks in the same boat as our family.
  • Passion Group was awesome at leading worship. I have to say that I’m a little partial to Kristian Stanfill and the gang. Ever since I used him for a DNow weekend  a few years back, I knew God would use this young man in great ways to lead people to the throne of grace. They did an amazing job today.

All in all, I would say that this has been a pretty good Pastor’s Conference for the SBC.

2016 SBC Pastor’s Conference Day 1

Today, our family of five packed our things up in the minivan and headed to St. Louis for the Southern Baptist Convention. This is the second convention that I have attended as a Pastor (the first was in New Orleans in 2012). This would be the first year that the whole family attended. We’ll see how that goes. 

As we were making the 6-hour drive from our house to St. Louis, we decided to make a slight detour. The route that we were taking would go right by the area that has the church where I was ordained to the ministry – Bett Baptist Church. I had not been back to this church since I left in 2002, but I had heard thatGod was moving there. I don’t think that I could’ve imagined what I encountered. It was amazing to see all the people present in this rural church. I pray that the Lord continues to use the people there and do mighty things. 

As we finally got to St Louis and checked in, we were running late and missed the first speaker of the Pastor’s Conference. We did make it in time to see the second – James Macdonald. It was encouraging to hear him share about enduring in ministry. 


Check out the Pastor’s Conference where you can watch a live stream.

Finally, I wanted to thank Ethan Nanney for stepping in for me today at Bethany Baptist Church. I heard that things went really good there. I knew they would. Ethan and his family are doing a great job at Dorroh Lake Camp

It’s No Fun

The other day, I had the privilege of doing some chores outside. There were some bushes that needed to be trimmed back. I had a little time on my hands, so I decided to knock them out.

I called to my two younger sons to come and help me. I figured that they could probably use something to burn off some energy. (Okay, their parents needed them to burn off some energy.) I put them to work hailing off small branches that I cut off.

It wasn’t long after we got started good that it began… the whining. It was coming from the youngest son. He realized that his brother had checked out. The middle son had come to the point where he realized that this was “work” not “fun.” He was done.

As my youngest son stood there in the yard, yelling for his brother to come help him, I leaned over and told him, “It’s no fun when your partners bail on you, huh?”  He made a face and went back to helping (for a little while).

no funAfter I said that to my son, I began to think about what I had said. I thought about times where I had felt the sting of that truth. Maybe it was at a job… Maybe it was on a sport’s team… Maybe it was in a church/ministry.

When God changes your life through the new birth, He places on you a task (the Great Commission) and places you in a team (a local church).

[If you have trusted Christ for salvation, but you are not involved in a local church, you are living in rebellion to God’s plan for you. Find a local, Bible-believing, on-mission fellowship and get in the game!]

 

When it comes to the task of the believer (making disciples), God does not expect us to work alone. He gives us two key helpers: (1) The Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17) and (2) Other believers (1 Corinthians 12:7).

While the Holy Spirit will never leave you, the other helpers may sadly. There are times when fellow believers decide to “sit this one out”… or not do their part leaving you or someone else to pick up the slack.

Paul spoke about this throughout 1 Corinthians 12. All believers make up the Body of Christ. We need each part to do its job. I may not be able to do what God has called and equipped you to do. You may not be able to do what God has called and equipped me to do. But if we each are faithful with the task that God has called us to, we will see great things.

When we decide not to do our part – maybe because it is hard or inconvenient or not as glamorous as someone else or tiring or not what we expected – it’s no fun for anyone.

Brighter Future for the SBC

I have been part of Southern Baptist churches from the time I was a teenager.  While I may not have always known it, Southern Baptist churches have played an important role in my life and ministry.  I went to a Southern Baptist college (Blue Mountain College)… I went to a Southern Baptist seminary (New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary)… I have served in Southern Baptist churches in various roles… I have even had the privilege of serving at a Southern Baptist children’s home during college (MS Baptist Children’s Village).  I guess you could say that I have been a SBC boy for a while now.

Southern_Baptist_Convention_logo1While most of my new life in Christ has been found in the sphere of Southern Baptist influence, I had begun to have some thoughts that things might not be looking so good for the denomination that I find myself part.  I know that many denominations in our nation are facing tough times when it comes to attendance and buy-in.  The rise of the “nones” and “dones” is affecting many denominations, not just the Southern Baptist Convention.

While I am very grateful for the part that many great people have played in our denomination, the fact that many of the younger generations were ducking out and going a “non-denominational” route says something: our denomination has been seen as an “old, white man’s denomination.”  There are many who think that the SBC really is their grandfather’s denomination, but not for them.

A New Light Beginning to Shine

Over the past couple of years, something has been stirring in the Southern Baptist Convention.  It seems like there are some real steps being made to make sure that this work continues on through future generations.

  • Fred Luter becomes SBC President in 2012.  This moment was one that was desperately needed in the Southern Baptist Convention.  I am very thankful for the leadership of Fred Luter.  This election was not about making a statement although it did make one.  It showed that the SBC was not about being just a “white man’s denomination” but one for all people around the world.
  • David Platt becomes IMB President in 2014.  David Platt is seen by some as a wonder boy.  Though he is relatively younger in age, God has done great things through this young man.  He did a fantastic job leading at The Church at Brooks Hills after the church had been rocked by scandal.  This young man has brought a new look at the way mission work is done through the IMB.  He has even had to call out some things that had gone on for far too long and make some tough decisions.  This leadership though is charting a course for the IMB to go forward stronger than ever before.
  • Nomination of JD Greear for President of SBC in 2016.  When I heard that JD Greear was going to be nominated as President of the SBC at the upcoming convention, I have to admit that I got excited.  I believe that this is a sign that new days are ahead for the SBC.  Greear is not the “usual candidate” for this position.  He is younger than most.  The church he leads is not what you would call “traditional.”  But what he brings to the table shows that he is more than qualified to not just handle this position, but to handle this position at this crucial time. For more details on Greear’s info, check out this article.  Also check out what Greear had to say about accepting this nomination by clicking here.

Change is a part of life and creation.  It has to happen or things will become obsolete. I believe, from what I have been seeing in our denomination, that there are some much brighter days ahead for the SBC. I look forward to what they will be and will bring.

It’s That Important

We started a new session of small groups at our church this past Sunday.  We have moved from a regular service to doing more small group Bible studies on Sunday evenings.  We are seeing some peaked interest and even a little rise in attendance.  This is our second session of the small groups that we started this year, and I am excited to see where they go.

I was asked about where I (being the pastor) was going to be during this session of small groups as I was not lined up to teach one.  I had gotten a couple of pokes about my name not being on the signup list anywhere.  When asked the question about where I would be, I simply replied, “I’m doing childcare.”

Play Blocks : CHILD CAREThe look on some of the faces was interesting.  You could see the wheels turning… “The pastor is going to help with child care instead of teaching a class???”

Yep… I was and am.

I had told our church that the area of children’s ministry (from birth up) is one of the most important areas of ministry in our church.  I had done sermons on it, used it as illustrations, and tried to highlight it in many ways.  The time had come for this pastor to put his money where his mouth is.

It seems strange to some that the pastor is downstairs helping watch the children while their parents/grandparents are upstairs in Bible study.  The truth is I truly believe that this area of ministry is one of the most important areas in our church.  So much so, I am willing to step out of the pulpit and get to serving where I see a need.

For some, the child care area of your church may seem like the 7th layer of Hades, but I would encourage you to see the importance of this ministry.  Here are a couple of things to think about:

Children need intentional ministry

It is important for the church to realize that not everyone learns on the level of an adult.  I’m not saying that we need to “dumb the gospel down,” but I am saying that it would serve the church best to intentionally teach different areas according to their learning styles.

This ministry speaks volumes to young families.

As a young parent myself, I recognize the value of a good child care ministry at a church.  There is nothing that will turn a young family away from a church than a bad child care ministry or none at all.  The church is supposed to be a ministry that extends from generation to generation.  The previous generation passes the torch to the next and so on.  When a church decides that the children’s area (primarily the child care area) is not that important, they cut off future generations of ministry.

Church members need to use their gifts.

The Bible is pretty clear when it speaks to every follower of Jesus having spiritual gifts that are to be used to build up the church and do the work of ministry (1 Corinthians 12:4-21).  There are some that feel they do not have a place to serve in the church.  I believe that a person does not have to be the greatest “teacher” in the world to love on children and share with them the love of Jesus.  I do believe that there needs to be some careful precautions in the children’s area, but this area provides a great place for people to set up the next generations of the church.

For the next six weeks, if you come by our church on a Sunday evening and are looking for the pastor, you will have to come downstairs or send someone to the children’s area, because that’s where I will be.  Why? Because it’s just that important.