Let me just say this. I love the Pastors’ Conference. I do. I love it. For years now, I have enjoyed this great annual event for pastors.
Let me break it down for you.
Here are seven reasons that make the Pastors’ Conference a great occasion.
1. It always provides some great preaching. Truthfully, I have never heard a bad sermon at the Pastors’ Conference. For pastors or non-pastors, this gathering prior to the annual convention is for anyone who loves to hear inspired, text-centered preaching.
2. It starts the annual convention off on the right foot. Before Oklahoma Baptists make a motion, hear a report or vote on a resolution, we begin by hearing God’s servants bring an anointed, passionate message from Scripture. What a way to start the yearly convocation of messengers from the churches!
3. It serves God’s servants. I see it every year. The very event itself gives pastors a chance to catch up with each other, go to lunch, fellowship with one another and just enjoy a chance to get away from their ministry responsibilities for a couple of days. While we enjoy the whole convention, the Pastors’ Conference seems to be a special connector between God’s servants.
4. It is a picture of how we do our work as Oklahoma Baptists. Each year, the pastors in attendance elect a slate of officers to plan next year’s conference. Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma staff don’t plan the conference, but only provide logistical support. The officers—state pastors such as this year’s President Todd Fisher (Shawnee, Immanuel), President-Elect Rick Longcrier (Miami, First), and First Vice-President Kenneth Lane (Lawton, Olivet)—put the conference together. Two fundamental Baptist values of autonomy and cooperation are operative with the Pastors’ Conference.
5. It always has a particular direction. I appreciate how the officers always build the conference around a creative and timely theme. This year’s theme is “Engage the Culture with the Gospel,” and our preachers represent that theme. Al Mohler, president of Southern Seminary, has always been a vigorous champion of the authority of Scripture through the use of apologetics. U.S. Rep. James Lankford, the recent recipient of the Salt and Light Award, given annually by the Christian Business Men’s Committee of Oklahoma City, seeks to live out his faith in our national’s capital and the House of Representatives. Two Oklahoma pastors, Bill Hulse (Oklahoma City, Putnam City) and Andy Taylor (Ponca City, First) have each led their congregations to missionally engage their communities.
6. It is a great blend of voices, with national leaders along with state pastors on the program. You can hear preachers you’ve read about, as well as preachers you know. And you might be surprised, sometimes, which of those brings the greatest blessing to your heart.
7. It gives pastors a chance to sing together. I realize some might not think this is a positive quality, but it is. Pastors may not have the greatest vocal quality, but they sing from the heart. Jason Henson, worship leader from Shawnee, Immanuel, will be leading worship at the conference, along with singers and musicians from the church.