SHAWNEE—Oklahoma Baptist University hosted 90 pastors and a total of 110 participants in the 2014 OBU Pastors School, July 14-16, on the OBU campus in Shawnee. The theme for the 2014 school was “Sent: Preach the Gospel of Good News,” based on Rom. 10:14-15.
Designed to provide an opportunity of ministry development for Baptist pastors, the event featured devotions, Bible studies, breakouts and plenary sessions. The event is an affordable way for pastors to connect with each other, be refreshed with powerful teaching and worship, and go back to their congregations challenged to lead them ahead.
The school featured faculty from the OBU Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry and two Baptist scholars and pastors, Tom Elliff, president of the International Mission Board, and Jim Shaddix, pastor for teaching and training at the Church of Brookhills in Birmingham, Ala.
OBU President David Whitlock had the vision to create the school several years ago, desiring to serve pastors in the region by offering this time of training and renewal.
“The Pastors School was re-established in 2012 as a revival of OBU’s summer programs for pastors during the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s,” Whitlock said. “Now in its third year, the school provides a time of encouragement, equipping, and challenge designed to strengthen pastors and their congregations.”
Anthony Jordan, executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, led the morning devotions. Elliff and Shaddix expounded on the theme, “Sent,” with practical teaching, encouragement and application for ministry of preaching at churches of any size.
Elliff has become a leading evangelical voice on the importance of global missions and family ministry. He has pastored congregations in Del City, Tulsa and Lakewood, Colo. Elliff previously served as chairman of the Southern Baptist Council of Family Life from 1999-2003; president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) from 1996-98; and president of the SBC Pastors’ Conferences in 1990. His books include The Seven Pillars of a Kingdom Family and What Should I Say to My Friend?
Shaddix has pastored churches in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Colorado, and also served as dean of the chapel and professor of preaching at New Orleans Seminary. He is the author of The Passion Driven Sermon (Broadman & Holman, 2003) and co-author of Power in the Pulpit with Jerry Vines (Moody, 1999).
The event also featured breakout sessions, including those taught by OBU professors from the Hobbs College. Bobby Kelly, Ruth Dickinson professor of religion, led the sessions for “The Gospel in the Gospels.” Ish Mudliar, associate professor of biblical and theological studies and Ruth Dickinson chair of Bible, taught a breakout titled, “The Necessity of Preaching the Gospel.” Scott Pace, Rev. A.E. and Dora Johnson Hughes chair of Christian ministry, led the sessions titled, “Preaching the Gospel with Clarity.” Stan Norman, OBU provost and executive vice president for campus life, joined the Hobbs College faculty in leading breakout sessions. Norman led the breakout session, “The Church and the Gospel.”
Ken Gabrielse, dean and professor of music for OBU’s Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts, led worship for the three-day event. He was assisted by Graeson Griffin. On Monday evening, Dave and Diane Watson of Newcastle, First, led worship.
The Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma provided evening meals and an appetizer fellowship. The BFO exists to promote charitable giving and provide financial management for the gifts that strengthen Southern Baptist ministries in the state.
“With so much talk about the Gospel these days, God’s spokesmen are to be encouraged to boldly proclaim his Word no matter their context of ministry,” said Dale Griffin, dean of spiritual life at OBU. “I was blessed by the messages, training and refocus of energies through the OBU Pastors School this year.”
Robert Griffin, interim pastor at Norman, Lakeview, shared his thoughts after the school concluded. “When Whitlock had a desire from the Lord to renew the Pastors School of an earlier day, I don’t believe anyone dreamed it could be as spiritual, powerful and wonderfully blessed as this past week,” he said. “Without a doubt, I believe every pastor in attendance was truly blessed and enriched with all the speakers and the time of singing together. The Father spoke to me so clearly through Elliff and Shaddix of the ‘preacher’ and his witness and passion to proclaim the Gospel.”