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Conference helps sharpen pastors, laypeople to communicate gospelcomment (0)

January 3, 2008

By Chris Mills

Nearly 250 pastors and laypeople gathered in Montgomery last fall to learn how to better communicate the gospel.

Held at Ridgecrest Baptist Church, Montgomery, in Montgomery Baptist Association, the fourth annual Called to Communicate conference was sponsored by the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions’ (SBOM) office of leadership and church health.

“This event is held to encourage communicators of the gospel in being more effective in their communication of the gospel,” said Teman Knight, director of the office of leadership and church health.

Keynote speakers were Alabama-native Bobby Welch, former Southern Baptist Convention president; Ted Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church, Pensacola, Fla.; and David Platt, senior pastor of The Church at Brook Hills, Birmingham, in Birmingham Baptist Association. Conference participants received Welch’s book “You, the Warrior Leader” as part of their conference materials.

Getting ‘re-energized’
“The conference speakers have given their lives to the call to preach, and they are a model to us young preachers of what it means to be faithful,” said Daniel Wilson, pastor of Raleigh Avenue Baptist Church, Homewood, in Birmingham Association.

Calling the speakers “excellent communicators,” Wilson said his favorite part of the conference was being able to catch the passion that Welch and the others exhibited in regard to preaching.
“[I]t re-energized my passion for preaching,” he added.

Larry Patterson, director of missions for Baldwin Baptist Association, said the question-and-answer times after Traylor’s presentations on the preparation of the minister and the message proved to be a great asset to the conference.

“The conference helped me by reminding me of what I’m called to do, not only through practical training and advice but also by giving me a renewed enthusiasm,” he added.

Randy Harvill, pastor of Brushey Creek Baptist Church, Greenville, in Butler Baptist Association, said Platt reminded him that in everything he does — studying, teaching, preaching and everything else — he should bring glory to God.

“Everything goes back to giving God glory,” Harvill said. “This was a huge reminder to me in my purpose as a pastor.

“We need encouragement and that is what I found at the conference,” he said, pointing to the Scripture, which says “iron sharpens iron.”

And that opportunity for one man to sharpen another was one reason Cherokee Baptist Association was well represented. Director of Missions Wendell Dutton said the conference serves a great purpose for those who have not had opportunity to receive seminary education and the association sponsored several pastors, paying for them and even taking the association’s van.

Those attending the conference ranged in age from young seminary students to those nearing retirement. And to SBOM Executive Director Rick Lance, this is a good sign. “This is a sign of health for our state convention and for our local churches,” he said. “In my opinion, this (conference) is one of the best opportunities for sharpening the skills of the communicator available anywhere today.” 

For information about the upcoming Nov. 6 conference, contact Jamie Allen at 1-800-264-1225, Ext. 256, or e-mail jallen@alsbom.org.
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