I am on my way home from Phoenix after visiting Sedona and the Grand Canyon yesterday with my lovely bride. We had a great time in Phoenix. Our parents kept our kids for us, and we were able to spend the whole week together. It’s always good to get away, but we are also very ready to be home. I can’t wait to hug and kiss my kids and preach on Sunday. God is good.
I have lots of thoughts rolling around in my head regarding this year’s SBC Pastors’ Conference and Annual Meeting. Hopefully some of those thoughts will find their way to this blog in the coming week, but I thought I would take this opportunity to write a few quick reflections on the 2017 SBC Pastors’ Conference.
1. The preachers did an excellent job.
I had the privilege of being a part of the selection process. I knew these guys could preach, but they impressed me by exceeding even my expectations. Every single man who stood on that platform opened the Word of God to us with excellence. Their exegesis was excellent. The application was helpful. Their illustrations were relevant. Each man brought a different style to the platform, but every single one of them proclaimed the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with precision and clarity. I couldn’t be more pleased with every single sermon.
2. The Word of God stole the show.
I shouldn’t say it that way. The Word of God didn’t steal the show. This conference was from the beginning only about the Bible. We set out on day one to put together a conference where the Bible would take center stage. And that is exactly what happened.
One person on Twitter commented that it was great to see the text on the screen behind the speakers so much larger than the speakers themselves. This conference was not about the men who preached. This conference was not about the men who put it together. This conference was all about the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word.
3. Those who were not selected were extremely gracious.
An interesting dynamic took place this year at the conference. Not only were the guys we selected present for the meeting, but I also had the opportunity to meet some guys who were nominated but were not selected. Every single one that I met spoke about how much they appreciated and enjoyed the conference. There wasn’t a hint of bitterness present. I am thankful for that.
4. I am encouraged by the quality of preaching in our convention.
I listened to a lot of sermons throughout the selection process. The guys who preached at the conference are not an anomaly. This is the quality of preaching taking place in SBC churches all over the country every Sunday. That reality gives me great hope for the future of our convention. Our hope is that every pastor who attended the conference left believing that he too can do excellent text-driven preaching.
5. It was a pleasure to work with Dave Miller and the rest of the team.
When Dave first invited me to be one of his minions—even before we decided to nominate him for PC President—I was surprised. Then after he had been elected and the whole thing was in full swing, he invited me to oversee the preacher selection process. I couldn’t have been more excited. If I could have chosen one thing to lead, it would have been the preacher selection process. I love to preach, and I love to listen to good preaching. It felt like a natural fit and was a great privilege.
When he asked me to take over SBC Voices for a few months, I wasn’t as excited. I had been asking for a job after the preacher selection process was over and had already turned down one of his offers. So when he asked me to be the temporary editor of SBC Voices, I only agreed because I didn’t feel like I could keep turning things down if I really wanted to help.
The rest of the team was great to work with as well. We have formed an unexpected bond of friendship. I am thankful to know each one of them. They love the Lord Jesus and His Church. They desire to faithfully shepherd God’s people without any hint of self-importance. I am blessed to call Alan Cross, Todd Benkert, Brent Hobbs, Mike Leake, Mike Bergman, Doug Hibbard, Jay Adkins, Scott Gordon, and Dean Stewart my friends.
6. I couldn’t be more thrilled that H.B. Charles will be planning the 2018 conference.
When I heard that H.B. Charles would be nominated to serve as president of the 2018 SBC Pastors’ Conference, I was elated. As I’ve said before, there is not a man in the Southern Baptist Convention that I would rather hear preach than H.B. Charles. The man knows how to handle the text. And I believe that he will choose preachers for next year’s conference who will continue the emphasis on text-driven preaching.
I could say more, but a deacon once told me that my six point sermon could have been shortened to three points. Since I’m already at six and the battery on my laptop won’t last much longer, I’ll stop here. Thank you all for praying and supporting the 2017 SBC Pastors’ Conference.