“Let us not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up” (Gal. 6:9)
Stead·fast, adj., resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering.
“Steadfast” is an important word for ministry work. Pastors especially should find the word essential, if not uplifting, as Gospel advancement is greatly needed today.
And “Steadfast” will be the theme for the 2022 Pastor’s Conference, Nov. 14, which will precede Oklahoma Baptists’ Annual Meeting at Mustang, First.
“Our pastors’ conference this year will focus on encouraging pastors in the challenging work of pastoring the church in today’s world,” said James Swain, associate executive director of church relations for Oklahoma Baptists. “The theme ‘Steadfast,’ drawn from the encouragement of Gal. 6:9, encourages pastors not to lose heart and not to give up, to be faithful in their work.”
Speakers for the Pastor’s Conference include Doug Passmore, pastor of Lawton, First East; Nick Garland, retired pastor of Broken Arrow, First; Anthony Harris, pastor of Amarillo, Texas, St. John; Hance Dilbeck, president of Guidestone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention; and Jack Graham, pastor of Plano, Texas, Prestonwood.
“Our Pastors’ Conference officers have invited men who will encourage their fellow pastors to be steadfast in the work, men who have encouraged them,” Swain said. “President Tiller Watson has invited one of his mentors, Anthony Harris, who has been a great encouragement for him to be steadfast. We will have two of our state pastors, Doug Passmore and Nick Garland, who have demonstrated steadfastness in their long and faithful service in the churches they serve.”
Dilbeck is in his first year of leading Guidestone. He served nearly three years as Oklahoma Baptists’ executive director-treasurer, after serving 15 years as pastor of Oklahoma City, Quail Springs.
Graham has been pastor of Prestonwood since 1989 and has seen the church grow to more than 49,000 members. He has authored numerous books, and his teaching and preaching can be seen and heard on “PowerPoint Ministries.”
Watson, who is pastor of Tulsa, St. Paul, is completing his tenure as president of the Pastors’ Conference, and he has been planning for the event to be one that pastors will enjoy attending.
“I really expect it to be a service of refreshment and encouragement,” he said. “I think the speakers are going to be great. I’m looking forward to hearing each one of them.
“But I’m primarily excited about the theme,” Watson continued. “Over the last two years, and probably even longer than that, I’m sure pastors have been ‘up against the wall’ in so many different ways. Dealing with the pandemic and dealing with the result of that, congregations that either have had time through that cycle (of the pandemic) or (currently) coming out of that cycle. Then dealing with congregants who may not want to come back to church for whatever reason. Also have had congregants who have passed away. So I think even in this time and in this theme of reminding pastors of being steadfast is going to be very important. It will be a refreshing and inspirational time, to be able to worship and also be able to listen to God’s Word from different pastors. I think it will be incredible.”
Watson shared more of why the selection of speakers for the Pastors’ Conference is important.
“One of the things about the reputations of the speakers is it says that these are men who have been seasoned in the Gospel,” he said. “It’s very important to hear from guys who have been pastoring for several years. They have numerous experiences and are accustomed to how to navigate these waters, so having them speak to us about being steadfast is very important.”
The Pastors’ Conference also will feature testimonies from pastors who have been steadfast in challenging situations. Plus, OBU pastoral students will be delivering messages at the conference.
The past few Pastors’ Conferences have not featured times of worship through music, but such worship opportunities will be observed this year. Ada, First’s worship team will be leading these moments of worship.
The opening session of the Pastors’ Conference will begin at 9 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 14. The afternoon session will begin at 1:30 p.m.
Pastors will be invited to attend a luncheon at noon, hosted by Southwestern Seminary. Gifts from Guidestone, Thomas Nelson Publishing and Midwestern Seminary will be offered to pastors attending the Pastors’ Conference.
“Our primary goal is to encourage pastors and to uplift them,” Watson said. “The Pastors’ Conference will give them time to worship and receive a word. A pastor wants to be in the midst of a congregational worship as much as the worshippers do on Sunday, so that’s what we will try to convey to pastors in the time we will be together.”