Pastors' Conf. announces 2018 speakers, theme

DALLAS (BP) -- "Fulfill Your Ministry!" will be the theme addressed by a diverse lineup of speakers at this year's Southern Baptist Convention Pastors' Conference June 10-11 in Dallas.

Pastors' Conference President H.B. Charles Jr. announced the theme, drawn from 2 Timothy 4:5, and speakers, half of whom are non-Anglo, late last week in a blog post. Five African American preachers will join one Hispanic preacher and six Anglos.

"The goal of the conference is to challenge and encourage pastors and church leaders to be faithful to the calling to serve the Lord in local church ministry," wrote Charles, pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla.

"We are living in critical times. The world at its worst needs the church at its best," Charles, the first African American Pastors' Conference president, wrote Feb. 15 on his website. "To reach this culture and generation for Christ, we must live faithful lives, preach faithful messages, and lead faithful congregations. Each message will be a call to faithfulness."

Along with preaching, the Pastors' Conference will feature worship and prayer to undergird the ministry of pastors and their wives. The sessions at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center will be held prior to the SBC's June 12-13 annual meeting there.

Among Pastors' Conference highlights, Charles wrote, will be an address by Frank Pomeroy, pastor of First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, who "will share his testimony of trusting God through the tragedy his congregation suffered last summer," when a gunman murdered 26 people, including Pomeroy's daughter, during a worship service.

Other Pastors' Conference speakers will include:

-- Bryan Carter, pastor of predominantly African American Concord Church in Dallas;

-- Charlie Dates, pastor of predominantly African American Progressive Baptist Church in Chicago;

-- Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas;

-- J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and a candidate for SBC president;

-- Tony Evans, pastor of predominantly African American Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas;

-- James Merritt, pastor of Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, Ga.;

-- Ray Pritchard, president of Keep Believing Ministries in Elmhurst, Ill., a ministry that provides free biblical resources for pastors and churches;

-- Juan Sanchez, pastor of High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, a multiethnic congregation;

-- Robert Smith, Charles T. Carter Baptist Chair of Divinity at Samford University's Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Ala.;

-- Cameron Triggs, pastor of Grace Alive, in Orlando, Fla., a multi-ethnic congregation;

-- Daven Watkins, pastor of First Baptist Church in Pelham, Ala.

Worship will be led by Joe Pace, Shiloh's pastor of worship and arts, along with the church's mass choir.

"Please remember this year's conference in your prayers," Charles wrote. "And make plans to join us for two powerful days of preaching, worship, and fellowship."

David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention's news service. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists' concerns nationally and globally.
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