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OBU hosts 10th annual Call Conference

OBU hosts 10th annual Call Conference - Baptist Messenger of Oklahoma

OBU President Heath Thomas said in the opening session of the Call Conference, ‘The future belongs to those who are prepared.’

SHAWNEE—The Call Conference met for the 10th consecutive year Aug. 29 with more than 240 participants at Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU).

Brian Baldwin, student evangelism and missions partner for Oklahoma Baptists, said the Call Conference is “designed for those who are exploring a call to ministry, whether they are discovering it or they are deepening their call.”

This year’s theme for the Call Conference is “Unexpected,” based on 2 Cor. 4:7, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”

Baldwin also applied the parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14-30) throughout the conference, how it is important for Christians not to “hide our talents.”

OBU hosts 10th annual Call Conference - Baptist Messenger of Oklahoma 1

“Today is about putting a hand on your shoulder,” Ed Newton said, “looking you right in the face and saying ‘God is not just going to greatly use you; He is currently greatly using you.’”

“We are thankful for OBU not ‘hiding their talent,’ but making the investment and allowing the Call Conference to happen on their campus,” Baldwin said. “It could have been easier to cancel it. The same is applied to church youth leaders who brought young people to the conference. They could have considered not coming.”

Todd Sanders, Falls Creek program director and student ministry partner for Oklahoma Baptists, also expressed his appreciation for this year’s Call Conference.

“I probably share the opinion with other ministers in our Oklahoma Baptist churches that I wish I had an opportunity like this when I first felt called to ministry,” Sanders said. “The Call Conference creates an integral step in creating a ministry pipeline in our state. It provides a great opportunity for our ministers to begin to develop future ministry leadership. What an awesome thing God is doing through this grassroots stirring of the Spirit to guide students in obedient service.”

Keynote speakers for this year’s Call Conference included Ed Newton and Mathew Emerson.

Newton, a Falls Creek favorite speaker who currently serves as pastor at a church in San Antonio, Texas, opened the Call Conference speaking on “confirming the call.”

“Today is about putting a hand on your shoulder,” Newton said, “looking you right in the face and saying ‘God is not just going to greatly use you; He is currently greatly using you.’ Stepping into that space and place that God is calling you is not about your ability in serving God; it’s about your availability.”

OBU hosts 10th annual Call Conference - Baptist Messenger of Oklahoma 2

Whitley Lent leads a breakout session titled ‘Women and Ministry’

Emerson, dean of OBU’s Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry, spoke on what it means to grow in the call to ministry. Wrapping up the main sessions, both Baldwin and Sanders led a discussion time of what it means to follow the Lord in the calling.

Participants also had the opportunity to choose among 13 breakout sessions. Two new topics at this year’s conference were “First Two Years of Ministry,” led by Parker Goforth, and “Small Town Ministry,” led by Ryan Yount.

The other breakout topics included “Slash/Pursuing a Call that Looks Different,” “Leading Those Called,” “Women and Ministry,” “Missions,” “Children,” “Youth Ministry,” “Pastoral Ministry,” “Called to Obedience (New Believer’s Track),” “Worship,” “Evangelism” and “Discipleship and Small Group Ministry.”

For more information on The Call Conference, visit oklahomabaptists.org/thecall.

Chris Doyle

Author: Chris Doyle

Chris Doyle is managing editor of the Baptist Messenger.

View more articles by Chris Doyle.

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