MBC preaching conference emphasizes acting like Jesus, preaching Jesus
ARNOLD – Whether you’re a bi-vocational pastor preaching to 25 or a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), being an effective pastor can be one of life’s hardest callings.
Although they admit they’ve seen their share of troubles in the ministry, James Draper and Jim Henry – both former presidents of the SBC – and Kenny Qualls, pastor of First Baptist, Arnold, were the featured speakers offering advice during the second annual Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Preaching Conference Nov. 27 and 28.
Known most recently as the president emeritus of LifeWay Christian Resources, James Draper pastored churches in Oklahoma and Texas and served two terms as president of the SBC. He called the pastors to focus on reaching the lost and not get distracted with petty issues within the church.
“There are not many happy churches,” he said. “Most churches are struggling, arguing, fighting, firing a pastor, hiring a pastor. Here we are dealing with all of this while the world is unraveling around us. Politics is not the answer, religion is not the answer, Jesus is the answer and that’s what we’re to preach.”
Henry is the pastor emeritus of First Baptist Church, Orlando, Fla. Henry served as president of the SBC for two years and has pastored churches in Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi for more than 45 years. He focused on giving pastors practical advice he had learned in those 45 years of ministry right down to exercising regularly, returning calls right before lunch to limit talkers, and keeping a schedule.
“Jesus was always on schedule,” Henry said. “He knew where he was going next and always had something planned. Jesus worked off of this spiritual and mental calendar along His journey, but he made room for divine intervention and that is how we should work, too. Simple planning will help your ministry more than you realize.”
Qualls addressed the importance and sufficiency of expository preaching – that is, that concentrates on explaining the meaning of a particular text or passage of Scripture – even as the world continues to change.
“Some preachers are being influenced by the philosophy of the world versus the power of the Word,” he said. “We need to understand our culture and know what’s going on, but there are some who spend too much of their time, energy and focus on the philosophy of the world. We must not compromise on [the Bible]. I’m all for new methods and being creative, but we cannot walk away from the power of the Word of God. We’re called to reach people, not a culture, and you do that by sticking to the Bible.”