When I was elected president of the Pastors’ Conference, the first thing I was told was that I could not do the job. The man who told me that was absolutely right. I was totally incapable of effectively planning and managing the PC. What he didn’t know is that I had two great officers in Paul Smith and Toby Frost and a group of ten or so diligent, creative, and committed friends standing with me who would seek to make this year’s Pastors’ Conference a great experience. With the partnership of the Caskey Center, some good sponsors, the support of the Executive Committee, and a lot of man hours, things are shaping up and we are almost ready to go!
The other thing I was told was that since the convention and Pastors’ Conference were in Phoenix, outside of normal SBC territory, and since it is a reelection year in presidential politics, Phoenix would be a poorly attended Pastors’ Conference. We decided to take on a dual challenge. Not only would we attempt to provide a PC that would be a blessing to every pastor who attends, but we would do all that we could to get as many pastors there as possible. We would attempt to deal with both quality and quantity!
Why don’t pastors attend? Of course, there are a lot of reasons. Some have schedule conflicts. Health problems. Some would rather have a root canal without anesthetic than to attend an annual meeting or the Pastors’ Conference. There’s not much we could do about that.
But there is one reason that hundreds of pastors of smaller churches do not attend.
Money. Moolah. Bucks. Dollars.
I have a reimbursement account that pays my way to the conference every year. It’s a fun time for me to see old friends, to get away. Actually, in recent years it’s become more of a working week as I’ve blogged incessantly – especially on Tuesday and Wednesday. But my point is that I get to come because my church pays my way. If they didn’t, I couldn’t afford to attend.
Most smaller churches do not have the money to provide a convention expense account for their pastors to attend. That’s the reality. It isn’t completely fair that the majority of SBC churches cannot have their votes registered at the annual meeting or participate in the process because they don’t have the money to get where we gather.
There is another reality. Normally, a lot of churches make contributions to the Pastors’ Conference to help with expenses – to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. We had an idea. Since God provided all of our needs through our partner and sponsors, why not ask the churches that normally give to the expenses of the PC to give anyway, not to help us but to help pastors who otherwise couldn’t attend.
This is something that has never been done before, and likely will never be done again. As you are aware, we are an anomaly. One and done. Our little band of bloggers is not going to do this again anytime soon. Whoever is PC president next year is under no obligation to repeat this process. But we wanted to do it. One time. Phoenix.
Can you help? We are giving out $1000 scholarships to pastors of smaller churches who do not have the budget to pay their pastors’ way to the annual meeting. At the end of this post, I will provide the details of how you can give.
But any church, any person can help. You don’t have to give $1000. Maybe you or your church can give $500. $100. Maybe your church could give $5000. Or more?
Here’s a fact. Applications have been open for a couple of days and we already have more hopefuls than we will likely be able to bless – unless the people of the SBC overwhelm us. What does that mean?
A lot of pastors WANT to come to the Pastors Conference and to the Annual Meeting and only money is holding them back!
Would you or your church, or your business if you are a business person, be willing to help in this? We believe the Pastors’ Conference is going to be a blessing. Why not share that blessing?
How to Give
If you are going to give, have the check made out to the Southern Baptist Foundation. Put “SBC Pastors’ Conference Scholarships” in the memo.
Mail that check to our treasurer:
Dr. Toby Frost
326 Gentry Run
Greenwood, SC 29649