Editor’s Note: The following article was written by Chris Davis. It is his reflections on being asked to preach at the SBC Pastor’s Conference and his participation in the colloquium. Chris is the Pastor of Groveton Baptist Church in Alexandria, VA. This was originally posted at his church website.
Before the Southern Baptist Convention’s Annual Meeting each June, many pastors and church leaders gather on Sunday night and all day Monday for the SBC Pastor’s Conference. High-profile authors, speakers, and pastors are brought in to encourage those invested in the life of the church.
This year’s conference is going to be different at multiple levels. First, the leaders elected to organize the conference decided to utilize pastors from small and average-sized churches rather than inviting the well-known mega-church pastors. Second, they also intended to reflect the ethnic diversity of the Southern Baptist Convention in the speaker selections. Third, the content of the messages will be expository preaching through the book of Philippians by 12 different preachers. Only time will tell whether this change in approach will be “historic.” It certainly has never been done.
I found out about this when one of my closest friends, a Worship Pastor and deacon in the Kansas City area, asked if he could nominate me. I agreed, though being selected felt about as likely as winning the lottery without buying a ticket. That was in late September. In November I received a letter stating that I made the initial cut (out of 150 nominees), then a few weeks later the president of the Pastor’s Conference called to let me know that I was selected to be one of the 12 preachers. Needless to say, I was stunned, honored, and grateful to join the team.
Part of the preparation for June’s conference was a Preaching Colloquium this week at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX. On Monday and Tuesday, the conference preachers met to get a crash course from Dr. David Allen on “text-driven preaching” and to interact with Southern Baptist preaching professors about how to best handle our particular passages from Philippians. We also shared a meal at the seminary president’s home and were able to take turns speaking at the pulpit of the seminary’s 3,000-seat worship center (the picture above is on the platform). It was a rich and full experience.
After spending two days with these brothers, I am excited for what this means for our denomination. These are brothers who have theological differences yet find unity around a belief in the truthfulness of God’s word. These are brothers who hail from different ethnic and national backgrounds yet share a higher identity in Christ. Some of these brothers pastor churches with smaller attendance than mega churches have staff, yet we know our work to be eternally significant. Most importantly, these are brothers committed to proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ and making disciples of all nations.
Please pray for me as I begin to prepare my sermon on Philippians 1:27-30. Pray that I would serve my fellow pastors and church leaders well. Pray that God would help me not only “rightly divide the word of truth” but also apply that word to the particular challenges that pastors face. Pray for boldness and purity of heart.
For more information about the pastor’s conference, see sbcpc.net.