Follow God unconditionally, Pastors' Conf. speakers urge

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--If a minister of the Gospel truly wants to see a great harvest of souls, there must be no place where he is unwilling to go for God, Pastor Johnny Hunt said June 20 at the Southern Baptist Pastors' Conference.

Although many say they will go wherever God leads, Hunt, who pastors the Atlanta-area First Baptist Church in Woodstock, said he wondered if that is really the case.

"Why is it that no one ever says, 'Who's going to the unlikely places?'" Hunt asked, noting that, instead, many people only talk about filling the most prominent pulpits in the best parts of town. "I'm telling you, God's the God of the unknown places.... Is there anybody here who maybe God is calling to the wrong side of the tracks?"

In reality, Hunt said, the right position of one's heart is more important than the "right" location of one's church. A heart committed to following God's guidance and dedicated to preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ will result in a life that God will use and bless.

Other notable speakers who addressed the afternoon and evening sessions of the Pastors' Conference included Adrian Rogers, Judge Roy Moore, Roy Fish, Jerry Falwell and Jerry Tidwell.

Rogers, retired pastor of the Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church and president of Love Worth Finding Ministries in Cordova, Tenn., told pastors that no person that is too small for God to use.

Drawing from the biblical story of Gideon, Rogers, a former SBC president, noted that God called Gideon "not for what he was but for what God could make out of him."

Similarly, God is still at work today using those whose eyes are humbly set on Him, Roger said.

"There has never been a greater day to preach the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ than today," Rogers said. "Somehow, we get the idea that poor God, He's not able to do what He used to do.

"I want to tell you, my friend, God is still God. He is not old. He is not sick. And He is not tired. The problem is not with God.... Don't you insult God by saying that [revival] can't happen."

Roy Moore, the former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice who was removed from the court for defying a federal judge's order to remove a monument with the Ten Commandments, gave conference-goers a lesson in U.S. history as it related to his ouster from the bench.

"The issue was not about a monument; it was not about religion; and it was not about sneaking [the monument] in, in the middle of the night," Moore said. "It is about the acknowledgement of God.

"When those 56 men met in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, there was no embarrassment about God; there was no confusion; there was no attempt to avoid the issue," Moore said.

Noting that now, more than 200 years later, the nation is suffering under "judicial tyranny," Moore warned that "there are consequences to what is happening in America today."

Participants at the Pastors' Conference honored Roy Fish, now in his 40th year as professor of evangelism at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, for his dedication to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his teaching of so many Southern Baptist pastors.

Southwestern President Paige Patterson said Fish embodies "the spirit of evangelism walking across this campus."

Fish, who preached in the Monday afternoon session, encouraged pastors to "preach the unsearchable riches of Christ" rather than "the theories of men" and "psychological doses of uplift."

"You will never exhaust the riches of Christ in your preaching. You are never going to run out of material preaching Jesus," Fish added. "Lift Him up and see that He draws sinful people to Himself."

Jerry Falwell, pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va., reminded the audience the Christian's message must include such elements as the inspiration and infallibility of Scripture, the deity of Christ, the substitutionary atonement of Christ for all, the bodily resurrection of Christ on the third day and Christ's second coming.

Today's pastors have an unprecedented missions opportunity to take that message to the world's 6.6 billion people, Falwell said, and they should use the tools of modern communications and transportation to do so.

"The greatest churches since Pentecost are yet to be built," Falwell said. "...We've got to teach the young preachers that the way to reach the masses today is to use every means to reach every available person at every available time."

Jerry Tidwell, pastor of Ellendale Baptist Church in Bartlett, Tenn., and author of the "G.R.O.W." church growth strategy, noted that G.R.O.W., which stands for "God Rewards Our Work," involves "a time commitment people can live up [to]," and aims to involve "every member of your church in outreach."

Though some Christians assert they don't need to be involved in scheduled outreach activities, Tidwell disagreed.

"We've run the numbers," Tidwell said. "People who are involved in an organized outreach ministry -- whatever that may be -- are five times more likely to be a witness on a daily basis than those who are not."

Elected as officers of the SBC Pastors' Conference were: president, Bryant Wright, Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, Marietta, Ga.; vice president, Doug Munton, First Baptist Church, O'Fallon, Ill.; and secretary, Gary Urich, Southern Hills Baptist Church, Bolivar, Mo.


Compiled by Kyle Smith, with reporting by Greg Tomlin, Brent Thompson, Dwayne Hastings & Keith Hinson.

Although many say they will go wherever God leads, Hunt, who pastors the Atlanta-area First Baptist Church in Woodstock, said he wondered if that is really the case.

"Why is it that no one ever says, 'Who's going to the unlikely places?'" Hunt asked, noting that, instead, many people only talk about filling the most prominent pulpits in the best parts of town. "I'm telling you, God's the God of the unknown places.... Is there anybody here who maybe God is calling to the wrong side of the tracks?"

In reality, Hunt said, the right position of one's heart is more important than the "right" location of one's church. A heart committed to following God's guidance and dedicated to preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ will result in a life that God will use and bless.

Other notable speakers who addressed the afternoon and evening sessions of the Pastors' Conference included Adrian Rogers, Judge Roy Moore, Roy Fish, Jerry Falwell and Jerry Tidwell.

Rogers, retired pastor of the Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church and president of Love Worth Finding Ministries in Cordova, Tenn., told pastors that no person that is too small for God to use.

Drawing from the biblical story of Gideon, Rogers, a former SBC president, noted that God called Gideon "not for what he was but for what God could make out of him."

Similarly, God is still at work today using those whose eyes are humbly set on Him, Roger said.

"There has never been a greater day to preach the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ than today," Rogers said. "Somehow, we get the idea that poor God, He's not able to do what He used to do.

"I want to tell you, my friend, God is still God. He is not old. He is not sick. And He is not tired. The problem is not with God.... Don't you insult God by saying that [revival] can't happen."

Roy Moore, the former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice who was removed from the court for defying a federal judge's order to remove a monument with the Ten Commandments, gave conference-goers a lesson in U.S. history as it related to his ouster from the bench.

"The issue was not about a monument; it was not about religion; and it was not about sneaking [the monument] in, in the middle of the night," Moore said. "It is about the acknowledgement of God.

"When those 56 men met in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, there was no embarrassment about God; there was no confusion; there was no attempt to avoid the issue," Moore said.

Noting that now, more than 200 years later, the nation is suffering under "judicial tyranny," Moore warned that "there are consequences to what is happening in America today."

Participants at the Pastors' Conference honored Roy Fish, now in his 40th year as professor of evangelism at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, for his dedication to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his teaching of so many Southern Baptist pastors.

Southwestern President Paige Patterson said Fish embodies "the spirit of evangelism walking across this campus."

Fish, who preached in the Monday afternoon session, encouraged pastors to "preach the unsearchable riches of Christ" rather than "the theories of men" and "psychological doses of uplift."

"You will never exhaust the riches of Christ in your preaching. You are never going to run out of material preaching Jesus," Fish added. "Lift Him up and see that He draws sinful people to Himself."

Jerry Falwell, pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va., reminded the audience the Christian's message must include such elements as the inspiration and infallibility of Scripture, the deity of Christ, the substitutionary atonement of Christ for all, the bodily resurrection of Christ on the third day and Christ's second coming.

Today's pastors have an unprecedented missions opportunity to take that message to the world's 6.6 billion people, Falwell said, and they should use the tools of modern communications and transportation to do so.

"The greatest churches since Pentecost are yet to be built," Falwell said. "...We've got to teach the young preachers that the way to reach the masses today is to use every means to reach every available person at every available time."

Jerry Tidwell, pastor of Ellendale Baptist Church in Bartlett, Tenn., and author of the "G.R.O.W." church growth strategy, noted that G.R.O.W., which stands for "God Rewards Our Work," involves "a time commitment people can live up [to]," and aims to involve "every member of your church in outreach."

Though some Christians assert they don't need to be involved in scheduled outreach activities, Tidwell disagreed.

"We've run the numbers," Tidwell said. "People who are involved in an organized outreach ministry -- whatever that may be -- are five times more likely to be a witness on a daily basis than those who are not."

Elected as officers of the SBC Pastors' Conference were: president, Bryant Wright, Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, Marietta, Ga.; vice president, Doug Munton, First Baptist Church, O'Fallon, Ill.; and secretary, Gary Urich, Southern Hills Baptist Church, Bolivar, Mo.


Compiled by Kyle Smith, with reporting by Greg Tomlin, Brent Thompson, Dwayne Hastings & Keith Hinson.

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