By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
BALL – Two former Southern Baptist Convention presidents will headline Louisiana Baptists 2016 Pastors’ Conference, scheduled for Nov. 13-14 at Kingsville Baptist Church in Ball, with a focus passage of Romans 13:11.
“Urgency is the theme of this year’s pastor’s conference because pastors should have a sense of urgency in the pulpit for people to have it in the pew,” said Nathan Davis, president of the Pastor’s Conference and pastor of First Baptist Church in Coushatta. “Our prayer and hope is that this conference will encourage and challenge pastors, staff members, and lay leaders to realize now is time to be urgent about preaching the Gospel, evangelizing the lost, and encouraging the brethren.”
The conference will begin at 6 p.m. Sunday with music by Todd Dubose, minister of music at First Baptist Church, Minden, along with participation by area choirs.
David Allen, dean of the School of Preaching at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, will preach the first sermon. James Merritt, pastor of Cross Pointe Church, Duluth, Ga., will close out the opening session. Merritt served as SBC President from 2000-2001.
Monday, the conference will resume at 8:30 a.m., with music by Dubose and other vocalists. Merritt and George Ross, New Orleans city coordinator with SEND North America, will preach during the morning session.
After a break for lunch, the final session will feature Johnny Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Ga. Hunt and SBC president from 2008-2009, and Nick Floyd, son of past SBC President Ronnie Floyd and teaching pastor for Cross Church in Fayetteville, Ark.
The second day also will include election of Pastors’ Conference officers and presentation of the three winners of the Louisiana College Pastoral Ministry Award of Excellence.
Louisiana College will give awards in the categories of Sunday morning worship attendance of up to 100, up to 500 and more than 500.
The winners are, respectively, Cedric Murphy, pastor of Providence No. 1 Baptist Church in Ethel, Steve Armstrong, pastor of Westside Community Church in Addis, and Brad Jurkovich, pastor of First Baptist Church in Bossier City.
Also included in Monday’s schedule is the Ministers’ Wives’ Luncheon.
Led by Meredith Floyd, the wife of Nick Floyd, the luncheon will take place at 11:30 a.m. at Kingsville Baptist Church. The first 100 ministers’ wives to register will get a gift bag filled with books, brochures, and gifts graciously donated by area churches and ministries. Tickets can be purchased for $15 at www.louisianabaptists.org/mwl.
There will be a Timothy-Barnabas retreat registration giveaway, and the winner must be present at the time of the drawing.
Each pastor who attends the conference will receive, at minimum, two books – one by David Allen and one by James Merritt.
Those seeking childcare for the event should contact Jason McGuffie, vice president of the Pastors’ Conference and pastor of First Baptist Church, Tallulah, at firstname.lastname@example.org by Nov. 6.
Childcare will be offered at no charge to participants but pre-registration is required.
Davis said he and his fellow Pastors’ Conference officers – McGuffie and Thumper Miller, pastor of First Baptist Church, Mansfield, and secretary-treasurer – did their best to find a good variety of speakers who would appeal to a wide audience of pastors and others attending the conference.
“We are really hoping this year’s Pastors’ Conference will have a great attendance,” Davis said. “Please encourage everyone you know to come.
“It will be a great time for Louisiana Baptists to gather together for a wonderful time of worship,” he continued. “Over the last year, I have spoken with former presidents of the Pastors’ Conference, and they recalled times when attendance was high and God did an awesome work. Louisiana Baptists, ‘let’s bring it back.’”