Pastors pursue holy calling
    November 11 2014 by K. Allan Blume and Rick Houston, Biblical Recorder

    The 2014 North Carolina Pastors’ Conference (NCPC), held at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, focused on the pastor’s call to live content in the care and provision of the Lord by pursuing personal holiness rather than worldly passions.
     
    The theme for this year was “The Pursuit” based on 1 Timothy 6:11.
     
    Josh Phillips, conference president and pastor of Cherry Grove Baptist Church in Cerro Gordo, commenced the two-day event.  
     
    Preaching from 1 Timothy 6, Robert Smith Jr., professor of Christian preaching at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Ala., emphasized the theme of the conference: “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.”

    He said, “We cannot tolerate doctrinal dilution.” Therefore pastors must learn to “flee and follow.” Flee those things, he said, that emphasize money and material things, but pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience and gentleness. “Christ is the embodiment, the essence, the epitome of these six graces,” Smith proclaimed.

     
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    From left to right: Brian Langley, vice president of the NCPC; Cameron McGill, 2016 North Carolina Pastors' Conference (NCPC) president; and Dale Robertson, NCPC treasurer.

    Baptist evangelist Bob Pittman gave the second sermon at the conference. He served as a senior pastor of Baptist churches for 33 years. Preaching from Luke 22:31, he said Jesus warned Peter that Satan desires to “sift you as wheat.” “What does the devil want with a man of God?” he asked.
     
    In the process of sifting Christians like wheat, Satan wants to accomplish three things, Pitman said. Satan wants to damage our testimony, to destroy our faith and to derail our purpose.
     
    “Your testimony is a valuable thing. As a pastor your testimony is an essential ingredient in your ministry. … Without character, without integrity, without a clean testimony, your ministry is tarnished and probably will not last very long,” Pittman said.
     
    Greg Heisler, pastor of Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Boone, said, “We are called to preach the revelation of God Himself in Jesus Christ. Our stand is on the Word of God. What I’m trying to do when I’m preaching is I’m trying to show how I’m hearing that text, I’m seeing that text, I’m smelling that text, I’m tasting that text, I’m touching that text. And then I’m ready to preach that text in the power of the Spirit of God.”
     
    Each speaker emphasized the need for an unshakable dedication to Christ.
     
    “We actually believe that just because we might have won an election that America’s going to change,” said Don Wilton, pastor of First Baptist in Spartanburg, S.C. “We really have gotten so far away from the holiness and righteousness of God that we really, genuinely believe that the person who sits in the White House is the key to kingdom living in America. Shame on us.”
     
    Wilton added that the problem isn’t just with those who fill church pews. It can also reside within those who stand in the pulpits.
     
    “People are running off to anything that seems to be presented to them, because they have no anchor,” Wilton said. “We’ve become a nation of preferential treats. We are preaching personal preference and personal conviction, and we have relinquished the mandate for preaching and teaching. We have drifted away from the centrality of preaching Jesus Christ and Him crucified. What happens to a ship when it drifts? It has the potential to run aground.”
     
    Tony Merida, associate professor of preaching at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and founding pastor of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, emphasized that pastors are to preach for the glory of God, not man.
     
    “No preacher ever preaches unnoticed. Unnoticed by people, perhaps. Overlooked for conference speaking engagements, yes. Unnoticed by God, never. We preach in the sight of God, and that ought to be enough,” Merida said.
     
    Phil Hoskins, senior pastor of Higher Ground Baptist in Kingsport, Tenn., said in the afternoon session that today’s pastors cannot afford to lose their convictions, character or compassion.
     
    “If we do, we might as well turn out the lights, padlock the doors of our churches and put a for sale sign in the yard,” Hoskins concluded.
     
    Evangelist Rick Coram concluded the conference by asking attendees if they had lost the power of their convictions. To reclaim it, he added, pastors must recognize the problem, return to the place where power was lost and finally reclaim it.
     
    “We are fueled by the power of the living God,” Coram said. “If we don’t have power, then we’re not having church.”
     
    New officers were elected for the 2016 NCPC. Cameron McGill was elected president of the conference. He has pastored Dublin First Baptist Church for 14 years and formerly served as the second vice president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.
     
    Also, Brian Langley was elected vice president of the NCPC. Former president of the BSC, C. J. Bordeaux Sr., nominated Langley who serves as pastor of First Baptist Church in Kure Beach.
     
    Dale Robertson, pastor of North Main Baptist Church in Salisbury, was elected as treasurer of the NCPC. This will be Robertson’s twenty-third consecutive year serving in this position.  
     
    It Shall Not Return Void” will be the theme for the 2015 Pastors’ Conference to be held Nov. 1-2 at the Koury Convention Center. Speakers will include Daniel Akin, D.A. Carson, David Horner, Johnny Hunt, J. Greg Lawson, Gary Jennings, Richard D. Phillips and Alvin Reid.
     
    Micheal Pardue, president of the 2015 NCPC and pastor of First Baptist Church of Icard in Connelly Springs, said, “The speakers have been chosen to appeal to every generation of pastor in our state. … My hope is that when you leave for the annual session of the BSC and then back into your field of ministry, you will leave refreshed and excited about how the Word has spoken to you through these anointed men of God.”

    11/11/2014 3:56:22 PM by K. Allan Blume and Rick Houston, Biblical Recorder | with 0 comments
    Filed under: BSC, N.C. Baptists, Pastors' Conference




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