Key leaders lend support to Pastors' Conference
PHOENIX (BP) -- Celebrating smaller membership churches in the Southern Baptist Convention is a key aspect of this year's Pastors' Conference. However, key leaders are calling for broad participation by pastors regardless of the size of their church.
"The core of the SBC has always been faithful men and women living out the Great Commission in local churches without the benefits of large platforms, big budgets or headline recognition," J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., noted.
The Pastors' Conference is slated June 11-12 prior to the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting, June 13-14 in the Phoenix Convention Center. The conference's theme, "Above Every Name," is taken from Philippians 2:9.
This year will be different. An ethnically diverse group of speakers, all pastors of smaller to average-sized SBC churches, will share 12 expository messages from the book of Philippians. Leaders like Greear are joining the effort to acknowledge and encourage the work of smaller membership churches throughout the SBC.
"I was reared in [a smaller membership church] and served my first eight years of pastoral ministry in churches of less than 400 in weekly attendance," Greear said. "Everything essential I needed to know about ministry I learned there -- the power of the Gospel, the primacy of prayer and the preeminence of the Word.
"I am excited to be with brothers and sisters from all across our convention in Phoenix this June as we re-examine those core principles of ministry that do not change, whether we serve in churches of 100 or 1,000," Greear said.
"I look forward to supporting and hearing these young pastors from across the SBC," Luter said in written comments to Baptist Press. "I encourage messengers from all over to attend, pray for and be inspired by the sermons and the music."
Luter's common ground testimony will tell of his early ministry at Franklin Avenue. While the church has experienced exponential growth under Luter, it was an average-sized congregation with approximately 65 members, giving Luter firsthand knowledge of the challenges and joys of the smaller church pastorate.
"I've never really gone to a large church but I have been part of seeing each church become healthy and as a result grow," Hunt said. "I look forward to sharing my story of pastoring a small church that became vibrant."
Contemporary hymn writers Keith & Kristyn Getty will lead worship at the Pastors' Conference. For a complete list of speakers and more information, visit http://sbcpc.net.