The Priority of Preaching Conference has been a practical help for Oklahoma Baptist pastors for 12 years. On Feb. 5, Oklahoma City, Quail Springs hosted 260 pastors and church leaders for this year’s Priority of Preaching, as H.B. Charles and Stephen Rummage were the speakers.
Brett Selby, regional ministry partner for Oklahoma Baptists, has been the organizer of every Priority of Preaching Conference and believes the event reflects Paul’s instructions to Timothy to continue improving in his skills as a preacher.
“(Priority of Preaching) is for the preacher who, regardless of whatever progress he has already made in his preaching ministry (1 Tim. 4:15), knows that he can make even more improvement in this most important task,” Selby wrote in an article before the event.
Rummage is pastor of Oklahoma City, Quail Springs and opened the preaching conference with instructions on the “Value and Use of Illustrations in Expository Preaching.”
“One value of illustrations is they help us understand the unknown by connecting to the familiar,” Rummage said.
Illustrations can be important in keeping the attention of the listeners, and Rummage said they help prevent listeners from “clock watching.”
“The clock is speaking louder than the preacher,” Rummage said, explaining the clock watching level that pastors should avoid. “And listeners have given up hope that he will have anything meaningful to say. One way to keep listeners away from clock watching and on high alert is to use illustrations skillfully.”
Charles, pastor of Jacksonville, Fla., Shiloh Missionary, spoke on the “Process of Effective Preaching” and gave a sheet of 50 Practical Preaching Tips to every attendee.
“It should be a crime to bore people with the Gospel,” Charles said. “You should preach passion. When I talk about passion in preaching, I am not talking about volume or emotion or theatrics. When I speak on passion in preaching, I mean you should preach as a satisfied customer not a paid advertiser.”
In the afternoon session, both Rummage and Charles gave a “behind the curtain” aspect of how they both go through a week of preparing a sermon to preach on Sunday.
“Study prepares the sermon; prayer prepares the preacher,” Rummage said.
Charles and Rummage concluded the event, fielding questions from pastors. Many complimented this year’s Priority of Preaching Conference on social media.
Vern Charette, pastor of Coweta, First, shared on Facebook this conference “may be the best preaching conference (Oklahoma Baptists) have put on. The content was so good and practical for all levels.”
Dany Daniel, pastor of Bartlesville, Southern, thanked Oklahoma Baptists leadership for the conference. He said Priority of Preaching “was very insightful. I loved being at the tables with guys and being able to write notes during the gathering.”