Conference encourages church leaders with flocks
    April 15 2011 by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications

    Kevin Turner* is from southern Moldova and speaks a dialect unique to only certain areas in Moldova and a few other places in the world. When he became a Christian as an adult, his heart became burdened to reach his people.  

    He learned from friends about a particular people group that spoke his language, a group he had never heard of before, and he began praying with his family for these people. For three years his family prayed for these people they had never met.  

    After that time God led Kevin and his family to leave Moldova and move to another country in order to minister among this group. Kevin serves in an area of the country that he described as very plain; a place not welcoming for tourists. But this is where God led him, and so this is where he faithfully serves.  

    BSC photo

    Sheep are one of the main livelihoods of some rural Moldovans. A team of North Carolina Baptists led pastors in a conference on taking care of their flocks. See photo gallery.

    Kevin works in five communities where he passes out Christian literature, organizes summer camps for youth, serves among the poor and seeks to meet people and share with them the gospel.   Before Kevin and his family moved, God used Kevin to make a difference in three Moldovan villages as a missionary/church planter.  

    Kevin is temporarily living in Moldova while he awaits approval to go back to the country in which he is serving. Kevin said he attended the pastor’s conference sponsored by the Baptist State Convention (BSC) and the Baptist Union of Moldova because “discipleship and evangelism are my main task.”  

    The two-day pastor’s conference was part of the launch of the BSC’s Great Commission Partnership with Moldova. The conference featured John Ewart, associate vice president of project development and director of doctor of ministry studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, speaking on prayer; Allan Blume, pastor of Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Boone teaching on disciple-making; and Bobby Welch, strategist for Global Evangelical Relations for the Southern Baptist Convention, teaching on evangelism. Welch also preached during the two evangelistic rallies on the evenings of the pastor’s conference.  

    “Truly, I received encouragement,” Kevin said. “You can’t see this very often. It is very rare a conference like this happens.”  

    Adam Moore,* a 2009 graduate of the Bible College in Chisinau, also came to the conference. He said at the conference he was reminded that Jesus Christ is the head of all things.  

    The teaching Moore received at the conference encouraged him to pray and ask God to “change my heart and vision so that I may have more of your heart and vision.”  

    Moore is serving now in a village church in Moldova that went through a difficult period prior to his coming. Moore is helping the church as they try to recover, and doing what he went to the Bible College to do: give His life to God and serve Him.  

    Moore received Jesus Christ as His personal Lord and Savior in 1999 at age 14. He had been sick with a heart condition (a condition he still struggles with sometimes but cannot do anything about because he cannot financially afford it) and did not know what to do. “One day I just said, ‘God, help me,’” Moore said. One of the hardest aspects of ministry for Moore is dealing with loneliness. “This conference was the answer for me,” he said, as the conference provided opportunity for encouragement and fellowship. Moore learned much from Welch’s teaching on evangelism. Welch encouraged those in attendance to be motivated to share their faith with others, and to see evangelism as closely tied with discipleship. “A person can’t claim to be discipling if he isn’t doing evangelism,” Welch said.   Welch reminded pastors that God’s love compels Christians to share their faith with others. “It is important for us to be looking for the lost. You must have a heart for it,” he said.  

    “If you’re going to motivate others, your own heart has to be revealed. Let’s face the truth: the reason most of us pastors don’t talk about our experience in reaching lost people or attempting to reach lost people is because we don’t have a story to tell.”  

    Pastors cannot expect to have a story to tell if they are not praying about that story. In Ewart’s teaching on prayer, he challenged pastors to pray evangelistically. “If we would pray this way, we would see the world in a different way,” he said. In other words, Christians would see nonbelievers as God sees them; as lost and helpless and without a shepherd.

    “If you want God to reach Moldova, then the people of God in Moldova must be on their face before God,” Ewart said.  

    Prayer and evangelism are both aspects of discipleship.  

    As Blume taught on this topic, he reminded pastors that discipleship really begins with a recognition of God’s grace. “Grace and truth — those two words separate the Christian religion from all other religions of the world. Grace is the key to all the Christian disciplines,” Blume said.  

    As Christians remember that God has freely poured out His grace on their lives, they will have no other response than to extend grace to others.  

    Blume also talked about various models for making disciples. For example, the Bible calls believers to have the discipline of an athlete as they prepare for the task of disciple-making. Believers are to have the dedication of a farmer, working hard but trusting God with results.  

    Believers are also to have the endurance of a soldier. “The soldier keeps focus on his responsibility and doesn’t get entangled with other affairs of this life,” Blume said. “A soldier must be committed to the long-term. We must endure.”  

    For partnership information contact Michael Sowers at or call (800) 395-5102, ext. 5654.  

    *Names changed.

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    4/15/2011 9:08:00 AM by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications | with 0 comments

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