Elliff to keynote Pastors’ Conference
Gospel group This Hope
to provide special music
By Don Hinkle
April 4, 2006
JEFFERSON CITY – A former two-term Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) President and the current Senior Vice President for Spiritual Nurture and Church Relations for the SBC’s International Mission Board (IMB) will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Pastors’ Conference in Cape Girardeau.
Tom Elliff, 61, who has also served as the long-time pastor of First Southern Baptist Church, Del City, Okla., will bring five messages during the Oct. 30 meeting that immediately precedes the Missouri Baptist Convention’s (MBC) annual meeting set for the Show Me Center at Southeast Missouri State University.
“He was asked to be keynote speaker by virtue of a lifetime of pastoral, missions and denominational leadership experience,” said Vic Borden, Pastors’ Conference president and pastor, Red Bridge Baptist Church, Kansas City.
“He also has Missouri roots,” Borden noted. “His father pastored Bethany Baptist Church in Kansas City in the mid-1960s and during that time planted Red Bridge.”
Special musical guests will be headlined by This Hope, a Gospel singing group based out of First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Ga. Woodstock is pastored by popular preacher and conference speaker Johnny Hunt.
“Some Missouri Baptists may remember This Hope when they sang at the SBC’s annual meeting four years ago in St. Louis,” Borden said. “They offer beautiful harmony with their powerful vocals that feature lyrics that are theologically sound. They are pure dynamite.”
The theme of this year’s conference, “The Master’s Builder.” comes from the book of Nehemiah and it will feature some program changes from past conferences. Instead of seven messages of about 30 minutes in length, there will only be five lasting approximately 45 minutes. The worship-in-music portions of the conference will be extended from the usual five to seven minutes to 15-17 minutes.
“This will allow our keynote speaker to go into greater depth and will give the congregation a greater opportunity to participate in worship,” Borden said. “It will also give our musical guests more time to minister to us.”
Elliff was unanimously ratified by IMB trustees to his current position at the Sept. 13-14 board meeting in Pensacola, Fla. He began Nov. 1.
Elliff served two terms as SBC president (1996-1998); president of the SBC Pastors’ Conference (1990); and chairman of the Southern Baptist Council on Family Life. The Elliffs were appointed as missionaries to Zimbabwe in 1981, but their missionary career was cut short by an automobile accident resulting in severe injuries to their daughter.
In his current role, Elliff teaches and nurtures missionary families and encourages their spiritual growth. He also teaches ecclesiology and Baptist doctrine to new missionaries in training and promotes missions involvement among Southern Baptist pastors and churches.
In addition, he helps train and equip overseas Baptist leaders, provides advice in IMB mobilization efforts and mentors the board’s administrative leadership team.
This will mark the third time in the last four years that Elliff has spoken to large gatherings of Missouri Southern Baptists. He was one of several speakers at the MBC’s annual meeting in 2002 and was a featured speaker at the MBC’s 2005 State Evangelism Conference.
In addition to Borden, this year’s Pastors’ Conference officers include Joe Braden, president-elect and pastor, First Baptist Church, St. Peters; and Jerry Tharp, secretary-treasurer and pastor, Lone Jack Baptist Church, Lone Jack.