St. Louis | Speakers at the SBC Pastors’ Conference preached on one passage during the 2016 meeting in the Gateway City, diving deep into the apostle Paul’s instruction to younger church leader Timothy.
“Live This,” the theme of this year’s Pastors’ Conference, was taken from 2 Timothy 4:5-6, when Paul urges Timothy to “be serious about everything, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
Ten preachers unpacked the Scripture passage, using their messages to urge leaders toward greater obedience, particularly the area of evangelism, and to be mindful of the legacy they’re leaving.
Do the work
“The last thing the nations need is the exportation of nominal Christianity from North America,” International Mission Board David Platt preached in a message on “do the work of an evangelist.”
In his post at the IMB, Platt says he sees much of the broader missions world that is “gospel-less and gospel-lite.” Debates about whether or not to call Jesus the Son of God when conversing with Muslims. Practices that minimize the call to Christ in the gospel, assuring people that they can be both Christian and Muslim.
Platt asked, What does that have to do with us? “Missionaries are reflections of the pastors who train them and the churches who send them,” he said.
“If we preach a small view of God, people will have a small view of the gospel. If we preach a glorious view of God, people will have a glorious view of the gospel.”
Jimmy Scroggins preached on Paul’s proclamation that he had “poured himself out” for the task of evangelism. The West Palm Beach, Fla., pastor opened his message by describing his diverse community. His congregation, Family Church, was named the 9th fastest growing church by a magazine, Scroggins said, which is the way it ought to be, because they live in an area with a lot of people who are far from God.
But even with their fast growth, “we are not making a dent in the millions of lost people right there within a few miles of our church,” he said.
Looking at recent statistics from LifeWay Christian Resources, it’s apparent churches across the SBC are facing similar challenges, Scroggins added. He gave conference attenders four steps churches and leaders can pour themselves out for the task of evangelism, starting with investing in far-from-God people.
Scroggins told the audience how, as a pastor in Kentucky, his church had been winning people to the Lord, but they were “nearly saved” people. In West Palm Beach, it was a different story. Some people may say evangelism just isn’t their lane, he said.
“If your lane does not take you and your church to far-from-God people, change lanes.”
Read the June 20 issue of the Illinois Baptist for additional coverage of the SBC Pastors’ Conference.
– Meredith Flynn