Powerful preaching highlights Pastors’ Conference
By Brian Koonce
November 15, 2005
SPRINGFIELD – The sermons that made up the 2005 Missouri Baptist Pastors’ Conference were enough to draw an “Amen, brother” from even the most quiet and reserved in attendance.
Steven Lawson, pastor, Christ Fellowship Baptist Church, Mobile, Ala.; Tom White, the executive director of Voice of the Martyrs and Doug Richey, pastor, Pisgah Baptist Church, Excelsior Springs, provided messages for the conference held just prior to the Missouri Baptist Convention’s (MBC) annual meeting.
Lawson preached four of the seven sermons, highlighting the supremacy of the Savior, the Sovereign, the Scripture and of standing firm.
Basing all his messages out of I Tim. 3:14-16, Lawson addressed the role of the church, “The church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.”
“This is the purpose statement of the Book of Timothy, but it extends beyond Timothy and Ephesus, it is to be the purpose of every ministry of every place of every generation. The church today is suffering from an identity crisis regarding what the church is to be,” he said. “The church’s identity determines and defines the church’s ministry.
“For some people the church is a social club. For others, it’s a community center. For others it’s a political hall. And for still others it is a theater. Paul tells Timothy that the church of the Living God is the pillar and support of the truth. The church exists to uphold the Word … the inspired, the inerrant, the infallible Word of the Living God. What the Bible says is what the church is to say. What the Bible teaches is what the church is to teach. What the Bible rebukes is what the church is to rebuke. This is our primary calling, to uphold the truth of Jesus.”
White, who was imprisoned in Cuba for 17 years as a result of his ministry there and came to Missouri straight from Iran, shared on the role suffering can play in ministry.
“The Apostle Paul was avoided by many churches while he was in prison in Rome. Why? He embarrassed them. They were too refined, too wealthy or too much on a ‘success Gospel’ even then. The Apostle Paul did not fit their formula of true Christianity and when he was imprisoned, he was abandoned. II Tim. 1:8-12 tells us to not be ashamed of the Lord.”
Just as Paul was willing to suffer for the Lord, so should we be willing to sacrifice and praise and serve the Lord, even should it mean suffering, he said.
Voice of the Martyrs is a non-profit, interdenominational organization with a vision for aiding Christians around the world who are being persecuted for their faith in Christ, fulfilling the Great Commission, and educating the world about the ongoing persecution.
The Missourian of the three featured speakers, Richey elaborated on the importance of sanctification.
As an officer must lead his men by example, so too much a pastor lead a church to sanctification with his example, Richey said. He drew from I Tim. 4:12, in which Paul tells Timothy to “in speed, conduct, faith and purity, show yourself an example.”
“We’ve got people grumbling and complaining about the time of worship. It’s an inconvenience. It’s become an obligation. They sing the songs we ask them to sing, we pry their fingers open when we pass the offering plate and we try not to give them too much of the Word of God at one time because it might make them uncomfortable. Then we send them on their merry way so that they can actually enjoy themselves on the Lord’s Day. We as pastors must be an example to the flock so that they see in us what ought to be present in their lives: joyful obedience to the Lord.”
The pastors also elected a new slate of officers for 2006. After serving as president-elect, Vic Borden, pastor, Red Bridge Baptist Church, Kansas City, took over for Monty Dunn of Pleasant View Baptist in Highlandville as conference president. Joe Braden, pastor, First Baptist Church, St. Peters, was elected president-elect and Jerry Tharp, family minister at Red Bridge, was elected treasurer.