Preaching conference coming to Jeff City
Concord Baptist Church to host Nov. 28-29
By Allen Palmeri
November 1, 2005
JEFFERSON CITY – Ron Barker, Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) spiritual awakening / personal evangelism specialist, has had a very busy first six months. Barker’s passion is to help churches change so that they can more effectively reach people – “scratching where people are itching," as he likes to say.
“You have to tell the truth, but you have to tell it in love," Barker said.
“We have become very apathetic in the church, and we’ve become neutralized, and we’ve dropped the ball. Most of the letters in the New Testament were written to Christians, and they’re corrective. They answer questions that they had in growing these young churches, and Paul’s trying to bring them back all the time to where they need to be. And that’s what our job is."
Barker’s latest project is a Nov. 28-29 preaching conference at Concord Baptist Church, Jefferson City. At the request of MBC Executive Director David Clippard, Barker is hosting “Transitioning Your Church in the 21st Century," a workshop designed to help Southern Baptists be more effective in preaching and teaching to bring about life change.
“When we take men and women who believe God has called them to international missions, we immerse them in a cultural setting, we teach them the language, and then we put them on the field and tell them to meet them where they are," Barker said. “In Indonesia, we don’t try to build a church that looks like the one in Alabama. We try to help them contextualize an unchanging Gospel in the middle of that."
Barker has secured three seasoned speakers to teach about transitioning.
Roy Fish, professor of evangelism, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminay, Fort Worth, Texas, is in his 40th and final year as a professor. Barker – like countless other Southern Baptists – considers the venerable Fish to be his mentor.
“He’s one of our statesmen," Barker said. “He’s a guy that rises above everybody else."
Fish recommended that Barker invite James Shaddix, pastor, Riverside Baptist Church, Denver, and Shaddix has accepted. Completing the trio of workshop teachers is Concord Pastor Monte Shinkle, a spiritual anchor in the Capital City who served as president of the MBC in 2003.
Barker said all three men are equipped to talk about breakout churches, in the sense that they all know how a congregation can “break out of the doldrums that it’s in." Through improved internal and external communication, a church’s vision can be renewed, Barker said.
“We’re really trying to get to the heart of what the needs of a pastor really are," he said. “We serve the local church, so it can’t be top-down, it’s got to be, ‘What do you need?’
“If we’re going to mature and grow, we have to learn foundational truth and we have to learn skills that will help us lead our people and grow our churches. Part of that is learning to communicate better with your congregation, and learning to communicate with people who aren’t used to going to church."
Don’t expect Fish, Shaddix and Shinkle to be overly confrontational in their workshop talks, Barker said. Love will be a primary emphasis.
“None of our pastors deserve condemnation," Barker said. “They don’t deserve discouraging remarks. They don’t deserve being beat on. It’s more difficult than ever to be a pastor, and it’s more difficult for a pastor’s wife to be a pastor’s wife, and his family."
A Sept. 26 conference at Second Baptist Church, Springfield, presented in the same spirit produced much positive feedback, Barker said. Measuring the impact of these types of conferences is best noted when a pastor goes back and implements some of the principles as the church regains a proper biblical vision for shepherding and evangelizing.
The preaching conference at Concord will begin at 1 p.m. Nov. 28 (Monday) and run through 8:30 p.m., with dinner provided. The conference resumes at 8 a.m. Nov. 29 and concludes at noon, with a continental breakfast provided at the church that morning.
Registration before Nov. 15 is $25. After Nov. 15 the cost is $35. For more information, call 1-800-736-6227, ext. 656, or email Betty Benz at firstname.lastname@example.org.