Editor's Note: The 2017 pastors' conference was planned by and for pastors of average-size SBC churches. A unique feature of this year's conference was the donation of 64 scholarships, awarded on a first-come basis, to allow pastors of small churches without a travel budget to attend the conference in Phoenix.  Bill Stack, pastor of Haven Baptist Church in New Bedford, Mass., was one of the scholarship recipients. Here are his reflections on the pastors' conference.

What a great and fulfilling time for the pastors that part took in this year’s pastors’ conference! Struggling with a 5 hour and 51-minute flight (others went before me I know), I was happy to have the chance to stand up. What I was not ready for, yet knew was coming, was the oven I was about to enter. The temperature on Saturday, June 11, was in the low 100s while on Sunday night, the God of Glory and Grace brought a cool front through that allowed the pastors and the SBC annual meeting messengers to enjoy four days in the 90s.

I met so many great servants of our Lord Jesus Christ who labor in the pulpits of our SBC churches. All us took the challenges offered us to be men of God to the people He has given us. I thank the scholarship donors that allowed us men to be at this pastors’ conference!

An Overview of the Conference to me:

The Purpose

The scope of this pastors’ conference this year was towards two focuses.

  1. Purposeful evangelism where we, as the mouthpiece of God, would be about the purposeful work of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ at least once a week.
  2. The return to and exercise of expository preaching of God’s Holy Word.

The Pastors

The number of pastors that came to this year’s Pastors Conference is unknown to me. The number I do know is 64.  This is the number of pastors being given a scholarship for this uplifting and dynamic sharing of the Word of God. I was one of these blessed men. The privilege to meet others whose call is to serve where the budget is so slim they are also called to a bivocational ministry was so rewarding.

The Passage

Our keynote passage for the pastors’ conference was the book of Philippians. It was a 27-hour marathon of expository and enlightening messages delivered by 12 pastors of average size churches.  The Gettys brought the worship and praise part of this 27 hours.

The Presentation

Excellence and conviction are the two words to best describe the way this pastors’ conference was presented to us. Complete and in-depth study was seen in the level of the sharing of each passage of this God-given book by Paul. To have watched and listened to such a complete and faithful delivery of God’s Word done to teach and encourage us pastors to be about our Heavenly Father’s business was of boundless joy to me.

The Principal Lesson

As was said in the Purpose section above, the goal of all in the family of God is to be about the purposeful and scheduled act of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ and not just hoping to share some day. We as the leaders of the churches need to be not just part of the outreach of our church but the catalyst of outreach in our church! We must be active and driven to share the Gospel for two reasons.

  1. To be out in the community and neighborhoods around our churches.
  2. To cause the membership of our churches to CATCH the practice of purposefully sharing of the Gospel. Paul throughout the text of Philippians shows us that being a purposeful leader will lead to the fulfillment of the Great Commission to the glory of God.