Discipleship confab blesses hearts in Slater
SLATER – The elements that make up a successful conference do not necessarily translate into hundreds of people attending—particularly in a rural association like Carroll-Saline Baptist Association.
Organizers of the Associational Intentional Discipleship Conference March 12 at First Baptist Church, Slater, were thrilled when 46 people registered. The host church is the second-largest in the association with 80-100 in weekly Sunday School attendance.
“I recapped the attendance (for the discipleship conference) by church, and it would seem like the smaller the church the better the percentage of attendance,” said John Holt, director of missions for the association. “We had nine people from one church that typically runs about 25 in Sunday School. We had 19 from a church that typically runs about 50 in Sunday School. So that indicates there was some real strong interest in this. Many people commented that this addressed a need they had.”
Missouri Baptist Convention Discipleship Specialist Mike Cooper had an enjoyable experience as he helped train the participants.
“The conference was a well-planned and promoted event,” Cooper said. “It was a great opportunity to help church leaders think outside the box regarding discipleship ministry in their local church. As the tool that our Lord has given us for life change, it must be utilized or we will not fulfill the command that our Lord has given us.”
Holt said the conference was planned for a full year and promoted in the associational newsletter for the three months leading up to the event. Bright yellow posters were hung in churches, and word of mouth resulted in a strong turnout. The host church also helped make the event a success.
“Slater is one of the most hospitable churches you could find,” Holt said. “The people there are just very, very warm and friendly. They love fellowship meals. It was their idea to have a fellowship meal before this workshop. They were planning on about 50, and I think they had food there that would have fed 100.”
Host Pastor Robert Sisney, who serves the association as Christian maturity leader, said one of the goals was to get people learning about what Baptists believe. He said there are a lot of church members who do not know the fundamentals of Baptist doctrine.
“It was just really a fun evening and it seems like there was just a good excitement about what was going on,” Sisney said.
Holt said he wants the event to be held again in March 2008.