Preaching confab focuses on nuts, bolts
Pastors experience refreshment, receive encouraging words at 1st Baptist Branson
BRANSON – Nearly 100 Missouri pastors gathered at First Baptist Church here Nov. 26-27 to hone their craft and renew their passion for God’s call on their lives: to preach.
They were led by Jim Wells, John Marshall and David Olford. Wells is the director of missions for Tri-County Association. Before becoming a director of missions, he preached for 32 years in Missouri. Marshall pastors the Second Baptist Church in Springfield. He is also the second vice president of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC). Olford is an ordained minister of the Gospel, president of Olford Ministries International, and co-author of the book Anointed Expository Preaching.
Gary Taylor, director of evangelism for the MBC, said the workshop succeeded beyond his expectations.
“I would call it an Ephesians 6:40 conference,” he said. “Ephesians 3:20 says God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. It was about twice of that. The attendance was superb, the spirit was great and it was very practical.”
Ron Adrian, pastor of Freedom Baptist Church in Brookfield, agreed.
“This [was] a time of real spiritual refreshment and revival for many pastors, including myself,” he said. “I picked up some tremendous suggestions that will be extremely helpful.”
The three leaders split up the time during the workshop, but also came together to answer questions from the crowd.
Marshall offered practical nuts-and-bolts tips he has picked up during his 40 years of ministry. They ranged from typing notes in large print, making sure one’s shirt is ironed, keeping eye contact, avoiding “the preacher voice” and not standing motionless behind the pulpit.
“You’re not a statue,” he said. “Move! But at the same time, be careful not to just bounce back and forth.”
Perhaps his best advice related to the reading of God’s Word.
“Research indicates that even lost people respect the Bible,” he said. “Read it to them slowly and with respect. The Scriptures are not an interruption to your message, they are your message.”
Olford used his sessions to emphasize the importance of expository preaching from God’s Word.
“We’re in a sound-byte age, but when it comes to the Word of God, we don’t want to do that,” he said. “We don’t want individual sound bytes that are absolutely disconnected from what God intended. If you get up and say ‘Thus sayeth the Lord,’ the Lord needs to have said thus. It needs to be something that is absolutely from God for your people. You need that biblical authority. You may be thinking, ‘I don’t have a lot to say.’ Well, God does, and His Word changes lives.”
Wells spoke from II Timothy 4:1-5: “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”
“Preaching is a divine event,” he said. “The Spirit of God is at work and He knows the circumstances you’re going into and he knows the situations you’re dealing with. God will work and move through your exposition in peoples’ lives.”