It’s always a little bit disorienting when you wake up in one place, and by early afternoon are in another place. I woke up in Virginia and am now in Fort Worth, Texas at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. I’ve already been encouraged by what I have heard thus far.
The colloquium began at 3pm today. After brief introductions, we then had the opportunity to hear from Dr. Patterson for about 15 minutes. Dr. Patterson has been extremely helpful to the Pastor’s Conference in so many ways. We cannot adequately express our gratitude.
There were three main focuses of Dr. Patterson’s message:
- Historic nature of this event.
The Pastor’s Conference has traditionally played a very important role in the Southern Baptist Convention. During the Conservative Resurgence, the Pastor’s Conference was one of the tools used to exhort Southern Baptists on the importance of standing firm on the Word of God. We cannot fully understand the historic impact of the Pastor’s Conference in electing conservative convention presidents who led the charge in turning our convention back to the Bible.
- Unique nature of this event.
This has never been done before. There has always been a group in our convention that has wished for an opportunity to hear from the pastors of our smaller membership churches. It’s not that we don’t enjoy hearing from some of the bigger names in our convention, but we recognize that there are many pastors across our convention that could serve us well if given the opportunity.
But an event like this year’s Pastor’s Conference has never happened before. There are likely many reasons for this. There have been fundraising concerns. There have been logistical concerns. There have been attendance concerns. We could go on and on listing reasons why it might not work. There’s never been someone from a smaller membership church crazy enough—like Dave Miller—to allow himself to be nominated for conference president.
- Importance of this event.
The 12 men who have been selected to be the speakers for this year’s Pastor’s Conference will be opening to us the Word of God. Dr. Patterson made clear that the office of prophet of God is not determined by the size of the church. Pastors, wives, denominational employees, and lay people will gather in Phoenix this June with the need to hear from God. These men are preparing to open the Bible and declare, “Thus saith the Lord!”
Dr. Patterson then talked about the campus and some of the things that are going on right now. SWBTS is building a new missions building that is scheduled to be open in May. The chapel is also a must see. And of course he mentioned the big game trophy collection in his office. Finally, he pledged to pray for each one of these men as they plan to preach.
Dr. David Allen is now talking about seven foundations of effective sermons. Come back later for more updates on the colloquium.