Editor’s Note: Each of the speakers for this year’s SBC Pastor’s Conference in Phoenix, AZ was nominated by someone. I have asked each speaker’s nominator to answer a few questions about the person they nominated. Jose Abella of Providence Road Church in Miami, FL was nominated by Brent Hobbs. Below are Brent’s responses to the questions I sent him.
How did you know José and why did you nominate him?
I had never met José Abella before the Pastors’ Conference nomination process. Someone about a year or two ago had mentioned José’s name to me — that he was a pastor in Miami doing a fantastic job down there. But I never met him nor had I listened to him preach. When Dave won the election for this year’s Pastors’ Conference, I thought of José and did a little online research to find out more about him and a few other guys I thought might be good additions to this year’s PC lineup.
The first thing that struck me about José was the preaching page on his church website. He was preaching an expository series through the book of Mark, but the series seemed abnormally long at first glance. When I looked a little closer I noticed there was a reason: there were actually two messages on each passage—one in English and the other in Spanish. So that got my attention in the first place – not only is this guy doing expository preaching like we’re looking for… he’s doing it in two languages every week! I thought about the amount of time it takes me to craft an outline and details of a message in English—and then to think about translating and reworking the message so it works well in a second language. So that had my attention.
One day soon after that I had a drive up to Richmond, about 2 hours away, so I downloaded a few messages to listen to for our PC evaluation and selection process. I had several messages including two of José’s. At that point I had listened to a good number of sermons already for the selection process and (as I’ve said before) had been really impressed with the quality of messages the nominees were preaching. Very few fell anywhere below “above average” in my estimation and there were many who were excellent. When I listened to José preach the messages were engaging and text-centered with insightful, penetrating application. I thought he had an excellent chance of being one of our speakers for the conference.
So next I had to meet him. I send a friend request on Facebook, then messaged him basically saying, “I know you don’t know me but I want to nominate you to preach at the SBC Pastors’ Conference”, sent him a link to the nominations page so he could see I wasn’t making this up and he agreed, graciously and thankfully, to be nominated. I was thrilled to see when the other evaluators listened to José’s messages they seemed to like his preaching just as much as I had. After Dave met with Adam and the other guys in St. Louis to choose the 12 speakers, I was excited to see José’s name on the list.
Why will he serve us well in Phoenix?
High-quality expository preaching first and foremost. I’ve talked to José several times now and met in person during the Preaching Colloquium we did at Southwestern Seminary. He’s proven himself to be gracious and humble throughout this process — honestly surprised he’d been chosen but honored by the selection and determined to do a great job bringing God’s Word to SBC pastors this summer. Our group of preachers is an impressive group — in preaching ability but also with humble hearts to serve the church through this opportunity. This years’ Pastors’ Conference is going to be an amazing event.