Archives For IBSA Pastors’ Conference

Pioneering-200-logo-layers-260x300By Meredith Flynn

When Illinois Baptists gather Nov. 7-8, a familiar refrain will be in the air. No, not the state song, although “Illinois, Illinois” certainly fits the meeting’s theme. The 2018 IBSA Annual Meeting at First Baptist Church, Maryville, will observe our state’s bicentennial as part of a celebration of God’s work through Illinois Baptist churches across two centuries.

The meeting will also revisit the “Pioneering Spirit” emphasis, shedding light on how IBSA churches have over the past year embraced challenges to go new places, engage new people, make new sacrifices, and develop new leaders—all so more people in Illinois might hear and respond to the gospel.

First Baptist Church, Maryville, will host the 2018 Annual Meeting, preceded by the IBSA Pastors’ Conference Nov. 6-7.

Along with stories of churches who have embraced the Pioneering Spirit challenges, the Annual Meeting will feature reports from ministry partners, music by worship band Sixteen Cities, and a visit from Honest Abe himself, as portrayed by veteran Lincoln interpreter Fritz Klein.

IBSA President Adron Robinson will preach the president’s message during the Wednesday afternoon session, and Tom Hufty, senior pastor of FBC Maryville, will bring the annual sermon Thursday morning.

Annual Meeting and Pastors’ Conference information is available at IBSAannualmeeting.org, along with historical highlights, meeting logistics, and a checklist for messengers to the Annual Meeting.

The little cabin on the prairie that served as a mini-museum of Illinois history last year will return to the Annual Meeting as a house of prayer. The log cabin will feature visual displays about Illinois’ mission field, both historic and present-day.

From the cabin just inside the front entrance of the church building, messengers and guests can tour the facility using a printed guide. At stops along the way, they will be encouraged to pray for ministries in IBSA churches, based on the activities that will happen at those locations during the annual meeting. For example, pastors’ wives will meet in the FBC chapel, so that space becomes the spot to pray for pastors’ wives and families, at any time during the three-day gathering.

“We’re asking God to stir a movement of prayer for mission and ministry, to build up strong churches across our state,” said IBSA’s Eric Reed, one of the planners of the prayer tour.

“God can move our hearts to beat in rhythm with his, for the salvation of lost people in Illinois, and strengthen his disciples to represent Jesus here, where he is so desperately needed.”

Counting to 200
When the Pioneering Spirit challenges were presented last year, the goal was for at least 200 IBSA churches to accept one or more of them. To date, 184 churches have done so.

“We knew from the outset that not every IBSA church would register a commitment to the Pioneering Spirit challenges, as much as we wish they might, because these challenges require great intentionality,” said IBSA Executive Director Nate Adams.

“That’s why the goal is 200 churches, not just to match the Illinois bicentennial, but because that will be about 20% of all IBSA churches, and we think that’s about the percentage that will really want to work these challenges.”

Adams said IBSA has continued to invite churches to consider the challenges during local associational annual meetings this fall, and will do so again at the IBSA Annual Meeting in Maryville.

“I believe we will have more than 200 church commitments by the Annual Meeting, and we are eager to work with those churches, and to see them become an inspiration to many others to bear fruit in these important areas.”

Next stop: Maryville
Messengers and visitors to the IBSA Annual Meeting can reserve tickets for onsite evening meals Tuesday and Wednesday at IBSAannualmeeting.org. The Tuesday evening meal following the Pastors’ Conference afternoon sessions will be provided by Ravanelli’s Catering and feature their famous pressure fried chicken, slow roasted beef with gravy, baked rigatoni, mash potatoes and gravy, buttered corn, salad, bread, and
dessert. Tickets are $10 per person.

The Wednesday evening meal catered by Fire-N-Smoke will feature smoked chicken topped with cranberry barbecue sauce, pulled pork, macaroni and cheese, green beans, salad, bread, and dessert. Tickets are $12 per person.

Childcare will be provided by the Illinois Baptist Disaster Relief Childcare team. For more information or to reserve childcare, contact Barb Troeger at (217) 391-3123 or BarbTroeger@IBSA.org.

Pastor Curtis Gilbert

“If they (your church) keep putting a cape on you, and you keep letting them, then you need to be rebuked. Because you are nobody’s Superman.”
– Pastor Curtis Gilbert on how a pastor needs his people as much as they need him.

Ministry can be chaotic, said Belleville pastor Curtis Gilbert. In fact, it definitely will be. What pastors are called to is not a calling of ease or of superficial comfort, Gilbert told leaders at the 2017 IBSA Pastors’ Conference, but one that will call everything out of you.

The pastor of The Journey’s Metro East campus opened the conference with an encouragement to pastors to acknowledge the chaos, and to assess their lives and ministries in four key ways described by the apostle Paul in Titus 1:5-9. The Scripture passage was the foundation for the conference and its theme, “Time for a Check-Up.”

Gilbert urged pastors to evaluate their own love for Jesus, for the gospel, for their family, and for God’s people.

“Even the sheep that bite you are precious souls,” Gilbert said, adding that pastors can become arrogant and impatient when they stop viewing church members as God’s children, and when they forget that they themselves are every bit as much a sinner as their people. Don’t delegate all the shepherding to other people, Gilbert told pastors.

“Be with the sheep; it gives your preaching credibility,” he said, emphasizing that a pastor needs his people as much as they need him.

Joe Valenti spoke after Gilbert and smilingly accused him of stealing his message. “What he preached to you is what I’m going to preach,” said the student and missions pastor from Cuyahoga Valley Church in Broadview Heights, Ohio. “Namely, that if you would fall in love with the God of the gospel, if he would be your everything, then everything else comes out of that.”

Valenti, whose church is engaged in reaching unreached people groups with the gospel, quoted pastor and author John Piper, who has said, “You cannot commend what you do not cherish.” When pastors treasure the God of the gospel, Valenti said, relying on him for everything and never forgetting the first day they experienced his grace, “missions comes out.”

There are more than 11,000 people groups in the world, Valenti said, and more than 7,000 are still unreached with the gospel. That’s not a problem for the International Mission Board or for missionaries or for the Cooperative Program, he said. Rather, “We need to see the completion of the Great Commission as a personal problem.”

Pastor Brad Pittman

Brad Pittman (center), pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Davis Junction, accepted this year’s IBSA Bivocational Pastor of the Year award this morning at the Pastors’ Conference in Decatur. 

In light of eternity
The mass shooting at First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas, just two days before the conference began lent a heightened urgency to the meeting and the messages. Randy Johnson, pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Decatur, preached on how to share the gospel as if it’s going to be your last opportunity, while Ed Stetzer, executive director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, told pastors the world they minister in is only getting darker.

The Christian worldview decreases a few percentage points every year, said Stetzer, former executive director of LifeWay Research and a long-time analyst of church and religion trends. And it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better, he added.

“I’m convinced that one of the reasons Southern Baptists are declining is that we have hidden our light under a bushel,” Stetzer said. But as aliens and strangers in the culture—as exiles—can we love people in the midst of cultural change, he asked. “If we can’t, we have a lot of explaining to do to Christians who have—for 2,000 years—done that.”

The 2018 IBSA Pastors’ Conference is Nov. 6-7 at First Baptist Church, Maryville. Officers are Bob Stilwell, president; Ben Towell, vice president; and Rayden Hollis, treasurer.

Family gatherings

ib2newseditor —  October 16, 2017

Postcard art

Not long ago, the pastor of an already growing church contacted me about “becoming Southern Baptist.” His church was starting to think about planting another church or campus, and had heard about the partnership and resources available through our North American Mission Board.

As I began explaining Southern Baptist polity and structure to him, I realized that those of us who “became” Southern Baptist when our parents enrolled us in the church nursery may sometimes take for granted the way our largest Protestant denomination in America operates and cooperates. In fact, many laypeople in our churches today might have trouble answering this pastor’s question.

Later I wished I had explained Southern Baptist life to him the way I truly think about it—like a family. A local church is like the immediate family you live with every day. You do life with them and know them intimately, in good times and bad, for better and worse.

A local Baptist association is like your family that lives nearby. You might see them every week, or maybe once a month, perhaps for dinner or to help with a project. They would help you move, or loan you their truck, or pick up your kids or grandkids in an emergency. They are your first line of support, and your first line of defense. You trust them, and you count on them, because they’re family, even if they don’t live at your house all the time.

Illinois Baptists will celebrate their annual ‘family reunion’ Nov. 7-9.

A state Baptist Association or Convention is like a more extended family. The distance between family members keeps you from seeing everyone in person very often. But you talk by phone, and you’re Facebook friends, and you’re aware of what each other is doing. When you’re in their town, you visit them. When their kids graduate or get married, or have a big life event, you’re there. And they’re there for you too.

When you are together with extended family, it’s still clear you’re related. The subtle family resemblances are there. Behaviors and preferences may be diverse, but values are largely the same. You know the same folklore. You celebrate the same heritage. You would still do anything for each other, even if Uncle Bill irritates you a little. You would never want to leave or lose this family, even if you’re grateful to get back in the car and go home.

Then there’s the national Southern Baptist Convention, which I might compare to a nationwide family reunion. I attended one of those once, for the Cunningham line of my family, which has gathered every Father’s Day weekend for decades in western Kentucky. We loved going, and met people we had never met before, and it didn’t take long to discover common threads, and certainly common values. I hope to go again someday. And if you ask me, “Are you a Cunningham?” I will proudly say yes, and eagerly help anyone from that family.

I know lots and lots of pastors and church members who have never been to a national Southern Baptist Convention, but who faithfully give to Southern Baptist missions, and who faithfully believe The Baptist Faith and Message. It’s a wonderful, diverse, large family.

And so, with a newfound warmth and enthusiasm for family, I invite you to come to Tabernacle Baptist Church in Decatur this November 7-9 for the IBSA Pastors’ Conference and IBSA Annual Meeting. In fact, bring someone with you who hasn’t been to this extended family gathering in a while. You won’t know everyone, but everyone you meet will be family. They believe what you believe, and they work together at doing the things you know are most important. And at least most of us would do anything for you.

Nate Adams is executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association. Respond at IllinoisBaptist@IBSA.org.

Missions opportunities to highlight gathering in Metro Chicago

Final preparations are under way for the 110th IBSA Annual Meeting November 2-3. The event at Broadview Missionary Baptist Church in metro Chicago will focus on cross-culture ministry opportunities in Illinois. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Jeff Iorg, president of Gateway Seminary of the SBC, called Golden Gate Seminary prior to its relocation from the San Francisco Bay Area to metro Los Angeles this year.

“Dr. Iorg is among the most compelling, thoughtful, and missional voices in Southern Baptist life today, especially when it comes to understanding post-Christian culture in America,” said IBSA Executive Director Nate Adams. “I’m so grateful that he is leading our West Coast seminary into the future, where pastors and leaders will engage values and cultures that are already very different from those of the past century.”

I hope this year’s Annual Meeting will bring to all of us a new vision and higher level of commitment to ‘cross culture’ with the gospel.

Iorg is a former church planter and state convention executive director in the Pacific Northwest. As a leader of Southern Baptist work on the West Coast, Iorg has addressed many of the cultural challenges now facing evangelicals in the Midwest. He has written frequently on theological and biblical perspectives on marriage, sexuality, and gender. His book “Building Antioch” shows from the New Testament how an ordinary believing congregation can become a transformational community.

“Illinois Baptists will come away from Dr. Iorg’s messages challenged and transformed, I’m sure,” Adams said.

The Wednesday evening session, including Iorg, will focus on a four-phase process for engaging ministry across cultural barriers. Adams will outline the plan and share testimonies and videos of Illinois churches carrying the gospel to people unlike themselves.

“My own recent trips to Chicago have reminded me again how diverse our churches are, and even more so how varied and challenging are the cultures that our churches need to reach,” Adams said. “I hope this year’s Annual Meeting will bring to all of us a new vision and higher level of commitment to ‘cross culture’ with the gospel.”

IBSA President Kevin Carrothers, pastor of Rochester First Baptist Church and Vice President Adron Robinson, pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Country Club Hills, will also bring messages.

In addition to the session on the variety of ministry opportunities in Illinois, the meeting will include two business sessions on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning. Vision tours of Chicago-area ministry opportunities are available. Seating is limited, so online registration is encouraged.

Visit www.IBSAAnnualMeeting.org to learn more.

With the IBSA Annual Meeting just weeks away, pastors and church members who plan to serve as messengers at the Nov. 2-3 meeting are encouraged to make preparations now. See the checklist below for a step-by-step plan of how to get ready for Chicago.

The meeting at Broadview Missionary Baptist Church is preceded by the annual IBSA Pastors’ Conference, which begins Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 1 p.m. and will feature preachers H.B. Charles, Fred Luter, Scott Nichols, and Jonathan Peters. The Pastors’ Conference also will include breakout sessions on cross-culture ministry and evangelism.

“Cross-Culture” is the theme of the Annual Meeting, which begins at 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 2. Jeff Iorg, president of Gateway Seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention, will help interpret the meeting’s theme throughout the sessions, and will join IBSA Executive Director Nate Adams and other guests for Mission Illinois: “Cross-
Culture” on Wednesday evening.

The meeting also will feature preaching by Kevin Carrothers, IBSA president and pastor of Rochester First Baptist Church, and Adron Robinson, IBSA vice president and pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Country Club Hills.

Meeting attenders will have an opportunity to see Chicago missions and ministry sites on vision tours planned for Nov. 1 and Nov. 3. Space is limited; go to IBSA
annualmeeting.org to sign up and choose your route (Northside, Southside, Westside, Suburban, or a Chicago sampling).

IBSA also will offer dine-in meal opportunities during the Pastors’ Conference and Annual Meeting. See details below and order meal tickets at IBSAannualmeeting.org/meal-tickets.

Check the website, IBSAannualmeeting.org, for all other meeting details, including information about travel, parking, and hotel accommodations. And take note of the other meetings also scheduled Nov. 1-3:

Young Leaders Network
When: Tuesday, Nov. 1, 9:30 p.m.
Where: Broadview Baptist Church
Menu: Wings ‘n things

Pastors’ Wives Luncheon
When: Wednesday, Nov. 2, 9 a.m. to noon
(Coffee fellowship begins at 8:30 a.m.)
Where: Broadview Fellowship Hall
Cost: $15; send check made out to IBSA Pastors Wives to Stevi Smith, 1302 W. Robinson St., Harrisburg, IL 62946
RSVP: Pre-registration is not required, but strongly recommended by Monday, Oct. 24. E-mail Lindsay McDonald at lmcdonald_31@hotmail.com.

Church Planters Breakfast
When: Thursday, Nov. 3, 7 a.m.
Where: Broadview Fellowship Hall
Cost: This is a free breakfast for planters and spouses, but pre-registration is appreciated.
RSVP: RachelCarter@IBSA.org, (217) 391-3101

Directors of Missions/Moderators Breakfast
When: Thursday, Nov. 3, 7 a.m.
Where: Broadview Fellowship Hall
RSVP: If you have received an invitation, please RSVP to LindaDarden@IBSA.org or (217) 391-3137.

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A popular hotel chain is running a television commercial that cleverly depicts several groups of people trying to decide whether or not to attend a wedding. One is a group of bridesmaids, who clearly aren’t thrilled about the turquoise dresses the bride has chosen. Another group is former boyfriends of the bride, wondering why on earth they all got invited. And one sad lady simply doesn’t want to see Uncle Joe dance in public again. I think it might be Uncle Joe’s wife.

The musical background for the commercial is a rock song from the 1980’s. Over and over that song chants the simple question, “Should I stay, or should I go?”

Because Chicago is our state’s largest and most diverse mission field, we all need to get more familiar with, and comfortable in, this world class city.

As the November 2-3 IBSA Annual Meeting approaches, I imagine there are Illinois Baptists asking themselves that same question. For the first time in several years, the meeting is being hosted near Chicago, at Broadview Missionary Baptist Church. The drive will be quite a distance for those in other parts of the state, just as last year’s location in Marion was a long drive for northern churches.

And of course some will not want to brave the congestion and the traffic. In fact, I don’t know any Chicagoland natives who look forward to that part.

The message of the hotel chain’s commercial is that their comfortable, affordable hotels give even reluctant travelers reasons to go, rather than stay home. So let me suggest some reasons to go to the IBSA Annual Meeting this year.

We need to see and care about and partner with its churches.

First, the challenging theme of this year’s gathering is “Cross Culture.” The program will intentionally showcase the diversity of Illinois Baptists and also point to multiple cultures in our state that desperately need the gospel. There’s no better place in Illinois to receive the challenge to “cross culture” than in Chicago.

Second, because Chicago is our state’s largest and most diverse mission field, we all need to get more familiar with, and comfortable in, this world class city. We need more practice going there. We need to better understand its neighborhoods, its problems, its needs, and its people. We need to see and care about and partner with its churches.

Third, a lot of advance preparation has already gone in to making your stay in Chicagoland as easy as possible. Broadview is a wonderful, generous church, with lots of parking and lots of practice hosting large events. Catered meals have been arranged on site at the church to make the dinner hour easier and more convenient. Nearby hotels have provided very reasonable rates that include breakfast. And Broadview’s near west suburban location makes it a wonderful home base for seeing more of the city, either on your own or as part of two pre-planned vision tours.

Should you stay or should you go?

I could go on and on, but let me cite just one more reason, one that really applies to every Annual Meeting, regardless of location. It’s just very, very good for our Baptist family in Illinois to be together. Throughout the year, we as pastors and leaders and devoted church members work hard in our various local contexts to fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission of Jesus. As the year draws to a close, it is good for us to assemble, and network, and be inspired, and remember that we are not alone in this mission.

Should you stay or should you go? If at all possible, you should go. It may surprise you what the Lord has done across our state over the past year. And it may surprise you how he and the fellowship of your brothers and sisters in Christ will inspire you for the year to come. I look forward to seeing you there.

For more information about the IBSA Annual Meeting and Pastors’ Conference, visit www.IBSAAnnualMeeting.org.

Nate Adams is executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association. Respond at IllinoisBaptist@IBSA.org.

pastors_conference_2016As IBSA messengers, committee members, and officers ready for the IBSA Annual Meeting, preparation is busily underway for another meeting that takes place just prior to it. The IBSA Pastors’ Conference begins Tuesday, November 1, at 1 p.m. at Broadview Missionary Baptist Church in Broadview, the site of the Annual Meeting. It finishes Wednesday morning, November 2, before noon and the start of the Annual Meeting later that afternoon.

The Pastors’ Conference is a time for pastors to recharge by listening to inspiring preaching, to learn from their peers, and to renew old friendships as well as start new ones. The president of this year’s conference is David Sutton, pastor of Bread of Life Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago. Other officers are Brian Smith, vice president, pastor of Second Baptist Church, Granite City, and Bob Stillwell, treasurer, pastor of First Baptist Church, Paxton.

The theme for this year’s meeting is “CROSSROADS: Our pathway to reconciliation,” taken from 2 Corinthians 5:14-21.

Conference speakers include H.B. Charles, Jr., pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla.; Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans and past president of the Southern Baptist Convention; Scott Nichols, pastor of Crossroads Community Church in Carol Stream, Ill.; and Jonathan Peters, pastor of First Baptist Church of Columbia, Ill.

Learn more about the Pastors’ Conference

Breakout sessions to cross cultures
Conference speakers will also lead eight breakout sessions, including:

IBSA staff members and former International Mission Board missionaries Dwayne Doyle and Mike Young will teach “On Mission in Another Culture,” offering basic principles to increase effectiveness while sharing Christ in another culture.

In his session, “Coming Together at the Crossroads,” Fred Luter will discuss the need for racial reconciliation and share practical ways pastors can lead their congregations toward biblical reconciliation.

“Crossing Cultures and Building Partnerships,” led by IBSA’s Dale Davenport, will help pastors learn how they can establish a partnership with an IBSA church in a different culture. Pastors can begin to form such partnerships at the conference.

IBSA’s Mark Emerson will lead “Develop Fresh Evangelism Strategy for Today’s Changing Culture.” Participants will learn how to develop an overall evangelism strategy for their churches using practical evangelism tools.

Vision tours of ministry opportunities
In addition to the breakout sessions, attenders can take a “Vision Tour” of ministry opportunities in Chicagoland on Tuesday from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The tour includes dinner. Choose from Northside, Southside, Westside, or suburban routes.

A fifth tour on Thursday, starting at noon, will offer a “Chicago sampling.” Lunch is included.

Register for the tours online at IBSAannualmeeting.org. Look under the “Vision Tours” tab at the top of the homepage.

Food and fellowship
A meal will be served Tuesday evening, so attenders can stay on the Broadview campus and not lose their parking spaces. Chicago’s famous Giordano’s will cater deep-dish pizza for $10 per person. Seating is limited. Tickets may be purchased at IBSAannualmeeting.org. Look under the “Quick Links” tab for “meal tickets.”


Pastors’ Conference Speaker Bios

H.B. Charles, Jr. is the lead pastor and preacher at Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville and Orange Park, Florida. He has served there since the fall of 2008 and is responsible for the areas of preaching-teaching, vision casting, and leadership development. Prior to his call to Shiloh Church, H.B. led Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles for almost 18 years, succeeding his late father. Pastor Charles regularly speaks at churches, conferences, and conventions around the country, and has authored or been a contributing author of several books.

Fred Luter has served as senior pastor at Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans since 1986. Luter received his Doctor of Ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and was elected the Southern Baptist Convention’s first African American President on June 19, 2012—holding the position for two years until June of 2014. In 2015, Dr. Luter was named national African American ambassador for the North American Mission Board. His role includes involving more African American churches in the SBC and in church planting.

Scott Nichols is senior pastor at Crossroads Community Church in Carol Stream, Illinois—a congregation he planted almost 15 years ago in October of 2001. Nichols holds a Bachelor’s degree in theology from Southwest Baptist University, a Master of Arts in ministry from Moody Bible Institute Graduate School, and is also currently working towards his Doctor of Ministry degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His loves in ministry include preaching, leadership development, and evangelism. Nichols says his joy will be to finish strong and honor God with all he is and does in life.

Jonathan Peters has served as the senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Columbia, Illinois, since 1998. A native of Chicago, Jonathan came to Christ as a student at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, and then went on to graduate from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth Texas. Peters recently led his church in a multi-million dollar relocation project.