Paul addresses Timothy in his second epistle to his young disciple to “endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Tim 4:5).
This is the theme verse for the 2017 Pastors’ Conference of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO), Nov. 13 at Oklahoma City, Quail Springs, as the theme of the conference is simply “Endure.” Brett Selby, BGCO pastoral leadership specialist, said this year’s Pastor’s Conference will feature speakers whose lives cover all points of the spectrum of pastoral ministry.
“The whole idea of enduring obviously occurs across time,” Selby said. “God develops leaders over time. In fact, there’s predictable, definable phases that a leader goes through. There’s the early part of his ministry, which some call the ‘Calling Stage,’ where a leader is answering God’s call. Then, they move into a ‘Contribution Stage,’ where a leader has to decide how he will be most effective. That’s where most of our pastors are.
“But eventually, ideally, as they continue to endure, they go into what some call a ‘Convergence Stage,’ where everything that’s been a part of that leader’s life comes together, both of what they can do and who they are, and they exert a powerful influence by simply who they are and what they stand for.”
The lineup of speakers for the Pastors’ Conference includes Michael Catt, pastor of Albany, Ga., Sherwood; Kevin Clarkson, pastor of Moore, First; Nick Floyd, teaching pastor of Fayetteville, Ark., Cross Church; Nick Garland, pastor of Broken Arrow, First; and Heath Tucker, pastor of Skiatook, First.
Floyd and Tucker represent pastors who are younger but have been examples of endurance in the ministry.
“Heath has come up through the ranks,” Selby said. “He’s pastored some of our open country churches, some of our county seat town churches. Now he’s at Skiatook, First, and in each point, Heath has led well.”
Floyd serves with his father Ronnie Floyd, former Southern Baptist Convention president and senior pastor of Cross Church.
“Nick is Ronnie Floyd’s son, so he’s come up in a different way—not easier,” Selby said. “In some ways, it might be even more challenging, being the son of a famous pastor requires endurance. He’s doing a great job.”
Catt, Clarkson and Garland have established successful church ministries as pastors. Selby said they continue to be in the “Contribution Stage” of ministry but have advanced to be influential among pastors.
“Nick Garland has stood for the Gospel and the church and the Word of God,” Selby said. “Kevin Clarkson has grown a great church and has done it with personal trials. Michael Catt’s church is committed to racial reconciliation, and he has modeled that for pastors not just here in Oklahoma but in the entire Southern Baptist Convention. All three, when they speak, it’s not just what they say; it’s who they are. They’ve stood the test.”
Keith Wiginton, pastor of Claremore, First, serves as president of this year’s Pastors’ Conference, and said he is excited about this year’s conference, hoping for pastors to be encouraged by attending.
“Every pastor has this idea that they want to finish well, but to do that, we have to endure affliction,” Wiginton said. “I think we’ve got speakers who will speak well to that. All of them have endured. Some of them have endured much affliction.”
Video testimonies of other pastors also will be shown during the Pastors’ Conference. Selby said the videos should offer many aspects of what it means for pastors to endure and fulfill their ministries.
“To be in a room with a couple hundred guys who experience what you’re experiencing,” Wiginton said, “relating to what the speakers are saying, we are encouraged to know we are not alone and that we need each other.”
“I can picture a guy who is weary, who is possibly a little discouraged,” Selby said. “Maybe his church is not growing numerically the way he would like for it to. Maybe he’s up against personal challenges, in his family or dealing with health issues of his own. What excites me is that a guy like that will come, and he will hear these messages from God’s Word and these testimonies of God’s faithfulness, and he will leave with a renewed sense of commitment and energy to go back and fulfill his ministry.”