DAVIS—“When it comes to preaching and teaching 1 Peter, knowing those resources, the ‘well’ in which Peter drew, is going to really help you as work through it. 1 Peter is a dynamite book,” Heath Thomas said during his opening lecture at the Oklahoma Bible Conference, May 8-10, at Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center.
Approximately 50 pastors and church leaders met in Falls Creek’s Mathena Family Event Center for the annual conference that is
part prep time for January Bible Study and part refreshment time for Oklahoma pastors to meet together in Falls Creek’s retreat setting.
Thomas, who is the dean of Oklahoma Baptist University’s (OBU) College of Theology and Ministry, asked conference attendees what they hoped to get out of the time of studying 1 Peter. Responses included more understanding of the character of God, something new and fresh from the text, sermon preparation and today’s application of 1 Peter. Then Thomas offered his own desire of study.
“I want to have a fresh experience of the risen Christ through the book of 1 Peter,” he said.
Thomas replaced Bobby Kelly, OBU professor of religion, who was scheduled to speak at the Oklahoma Bible Conference but had to cancel due to a death in the family.
The conference began Monday evening, May 8, with a message from Keith Wiginton, pastor of Claremore, First, which “set the stage” for the conference’s study of 1 Peter, the selected Bible book for next year’s January Bible Study. Brett Selby, pastoral leadership specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO), also gave an overview that evening of 1 Peter.
“The brilliance of (the Oklahoma Bible Conference) is it gives us the opportunity to go deep with a particular book of the Bible, to do it with context, to look at it from a couple different angles,” said Selby who has led 11 Oklahoma Bible Conferences. “You can always do an exegetical study, but then there’s other components of how to preach it and looking at the theology of 1 Peter.”
Scott Pace, OBU associate professor of applied ministry, led the majority of the conference sessions with an in-depth study of 1 Peter. He also covered preaching through 1 Peter.
“I feel like 1 Peter is THE most relevant book in the New Testament for the culture we live in now,” said Pace who has been a lead speaker at the Oklahoma Bible Conference for eight years. “(1 Peter is) focused on Christians living in a culture that is contrary to what we value and believe. It really does translate into practical application to all believers.”
Selby said the state Bible conference has been meeting since the ‘70s. He also said pastors tell him that the conference is “the best kept secret” that the BGCO offers.
“I say if it’s going well, don’t make it a secret,” Selby said with a laugh. “It’s a multi-faceted gathering in that it ministers to guys spiritually, it prepares them for January Bible Study and it renews their enthusiasm for ministry.”
Having the Bible conference in May, Selby said, gives more time for pastors and teachers to prepare to lead next year’s Bible study and fits most pastors’ schedules better than when it was previously scheduled in the fall.
“What a wonderful opportunity to be introduced to the text for the January Bible Study,” said James Wilder, pastor of Purcell, First, who attended his first Oklahoma Bible Conference. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to get nourished and refreshed and to enjoy the company of other preachers.”
Pace also appreciated his time with Oklahoma pastors during the conference.
“This gives us a chance to pour back into pastors, and that’s going to translate into ministry into their church,” Pace said. “We get a chance to not only equip them but to bless them, and they are a blessing to so many. We just want to serve them and be a part of that.”