We had a great first day. Dave and I have both written about some of the first events of the day, but I want to give you a brief update before I hit the hay.
Our First Session with Dr. Allen
Dr. David Allen knocked it out of the park in our first session this afternoon with his lecture on text-driven preaching. Lots of people call their preaching expository, but often it is not text-driven. Southwestern is committed to teaching text-driven preaching in their brand new School of Preaching of which Dr. Allen is the dean. Text-driven preaching is where the main point of the text is the main point of the sermon. If the text has two main points, the sermon has two main points. If the text has one main point and two subpoints, the sermon has one main point and two subpoints.
The 12 men selected to speak at this year’s Pastor’s Conference will be doing text-driven preaching from Philippians. We know they can do it because we’ve heard them do it. That’s why we selected them. But Dr. Allen provided us all with an excellent reminder of exactly what these sermons from the book of Philippians are supposed to be. This first session was a broad overview of text-driven preaching that will help the speakers keep at the forefront of their minds what this conference is all about.
We had a great dinner at one of the steakhouses in town. I don’t want to brag too much, but my filet was delicious. But at least equal to the food was the conversation that took place over dinner. It was evident by all of the conversations going on across the table that everyone was having a good time getting to know one another. This is one of the reasons this colloquium is so important. We want all of the speakers to feel like they are in this together. They are the team that God has selected to bring God’s Word to us in Phoenix.
Worship Service and Prayer
After dinner we had a time of worship and prayer. James Cheesman is the Associate Pastor of Worship at FBC Farmersville where Bart Barber pastors. James came tonight to lead us for our time of worship. We had a time of singing together, but the real treat was when James sang a song that he and his wife wrote based on Philippians 2:5-11. Bart is preaching through Philippians right now in his church, and asked James to write a song based on Philippians for their church. I had heard about the song before, and it was great to actually get to hear it tonight.
After our time of worship through music, we heard an excellent message from Dr. Mark Tolbert who is a professor at NOBTS and is also the director of the Caskey Center there at New Orleans. The Caskey Center is our major partner for the conference. Dr. Tolbert’s sermon was from John 1 focusing on the ministry of John the Baptist. It was a very timely word for these men as they prepare to preach.
Finally, we had a time of prayer. The speakers each got down on their knees, and those of us who are here but are not speaking laid hands on them while several of the preaching faculty here at SWBTS prayed out loud. It was a powerful time of asking God to move in and through each one of them.
I am excited for tomorrow and all that it holds, but first I need some sleep. Check back tomorrow for more updates from the 2017 SBC Pastor’s Conference Colloquium.