Going to Church is More than Showing Up

When you think about “going to church,” you probably think about going to a big room where you sing along with others, hear a sermon, maybe read some Scripture. You likely could also include attending a class or Bible study when you “go to church.” For many I fear that going to church is just about attending the gathering.

Now, this isn’t in any way an attempt to diminish or devalue the preaching and teaching of God’s Word or the corporate worship. However, when those are the only things we see as “church,” we miss so much more.

Every week when the church gathers, there are those people who arrive at the last minute, spinning into the parking lot on two wheels. Then run they run into the building hoping like everything that there is a seat near the back they can squeeze into.

Similarly, there are those who, as soon as they sense the pastor is starting to wrap things up, begin to gather their things and look for a good opportunity to slip out. Often if there is a prayer or a closing song, they slip out the back to get ahead of the rush to get away.

But when you do either of these behaviors you miss so much of what it means to go to church. You miss being the church to one another. What are you missing? You miss….

  • The opportunity to greet newcomers and guests.
  • The ability to visit with the group of older men who gather in the foyer to solve the world’s problems.
  • The chance to pray with the one who is struggling with a broken family, and then hear later about how God is putting things back together.
  • Meeting and knowing the families of other members as their kids run around your feet as you talk, or as has happened in my case, you get to know people as you look for a kid who has snuck off and is hiding somewhere in the church.
  • The visit with the new parent about their newest bundle of joy.
  • Being encouraged by the saint who is battling cancer but is still faithful and joyful in all things.
  • The possibility to be blessed by another member….and countless other things.

When we are late arriving and quick to leave, we leave little room for all of these other critical parts of church life. Fulfilling the biblical command to rejoice with those who are rejoicing and grieve with the grieving happens or at least starts in these moments before and after the formal service time.

So this weekend, go to church. But instead of just going for the music, teaching and preaching, make a decision to arrive early and linger before leaving. It isn’t wasted time. It’s these moments that will help you not just go to church, but also become the church.

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Sometimes you just need a bandage.

If you’re a parent, you know what it’s like when a child decides they need a bandage. It doesn’t matter if they have an actual cut, knick, or are bleeding. Many times they probably just want that Spider-man or Disney bandage because of the character on it. But it doesn’t matter how much you try to reason with a toddler that they don’t need a bandage, nothing will satisfy them until they get one on their skin. Whether they need it or not, the best thing to do is give the bandage – it comforts and appeases.  It calms them and gives them hope that it will be ok and the pain will pass.

In the church, there are many opportunities for us to give out bandages. Hardly a day goes by that someone doesn’t come by the church office and ask for financial help or assistance of some manner. Many times we’ve lamented that  all we are able to do financially is just a “bandage” for the bigger issues or needs. Our financial resources don’t allow us to fully meet every need. It breaks your heart at times to only be able to give a little help to what is an overwhelming need.

I’ve been on mission in 3rd world countries doing medical missions. Much of the medicine are similar to things we all have in our medicine cabinets at home. I know that handing out 10 acetaminophen tablets is only a temporary help and may only last  couple of days. However, that little bag of medicine, even though it won’t cure the ailment, it does give a little relief and some hope. 

I think as Christians at times we hesitate to help in some situations because we feel like we aren’t addressing the real problems or we can’t do enough to make a difference in that circumstance.  The thought is that by handing out a “bandage” we are just enabling or encouraging the bad situation. There may be times that is so. However, a lot of times we have the opportunity just to give a little relief and a little hope even if we don’t “fix” the bigger problem. 

 I learned as a parent with my kids that it wasn’t always about needing the bandage, but sometimes it was just the need to know someone cared and saw the pain. So, if you’ve got the bandage, just give it to them. Give a little comfort. Offer some hope.

You never know, that little bit of hope my open up opportunities for helping with the real issues in the future.

Who will tell them?

Recently I had the opportunity to go on mission to Guatemala again. I’ve been able to work there many times over the last several years. God has truly blessed the work there and we’re thankful to work with churches who now are being led by 2nd generation leadership. It’s encouraging to see that the work continues.

This year we were able to share the gospel and see many people respond positively toward it in two new villages where there is no evangelical witness. We are prayerful that God will use these people to begin new congregations who will faithful kingdom servants going forward.

When we go to Guatemala, we serve in the western Cuchumatane mountains. Daily we drive over an hour to the ministry locations. As we drive up the mountains, we pass village after village full of people going about their lives. Most probably ignorant of their spiritual condition, or are convinced they are spiritually “covered” due to their cultural Christianity. The truth is that the majority have no personal relationship with God through Christ.

As we were driving and passing people it kept crossing my mind as we were headed to our assignment for the day…”who will tell these people?” Will they ever hear the good news of eternal salvation through Christ? Time on our short trips won’t permit us to stop in every village, but who’s going to tell them?

When we head back to Guatemala City area with its millions of people. So much lostness is a city where lives truly changed by the gospel could do so much. Who will tell them? Will they hear?

These types of thoughts often cross my mind when I’m on mission and with a group going to tell the gospel.

But then, sitting in the Dallas airport it shocked me when I realized, “why don’t I sense the urgent need for the gospel here?” In an airport with thousands of people, why am I not aware of the lostness and gospel need here? Surely there are believers here, after all there are many mission teams coming and going from their journeys, but why doesn’t the need seem so urgent here as on the mountains of Guatemala?

Then I get to my city, my home. Why am I not as broken over the countless homes I pass here where they don’t know and live the gospel? Why am I not constantly asking myself, “who is going to tell them?”

Maybe because of proximity and I know there is access to the gospel here, but the urgent need is not less. Maybe it’s because here I’m too focused on doing “my” things and going about my routines and activities. But, we’re called to be on mission, not just in the mountains of Guatemala, but every step of every day we are on this planet.

Lord, help us to have a missions heart for the nations. And, Lord, help us start to ask the question at home too, “Who is going to tell them?” Because, it might just need to be me.


One of the marks of the early church in Acts is the togetherness of the believers. Together is a common descriptor of their gatherings.(Acts1:15; 2:1, 44; 4:24, 32) Their cultural circumstances likely pushed them together because their commitment to Christ separated them from the world. It caused them to meet together for fellowship and friendship, they served together, they worshipped together. They shared their resources and their very lives with one another.

I wonder how foreign this type of togetherness would seem to us as believers today. Sure, we meet weekly and we’ll talk in the hall. We may even occasionally have a “fellowship” with others. But, would “together” be one of the first words that would be used to describe us as believers? Sometimes I think our western individualism has crept into our Christian life more than it might should have. While everyone must personally come to Christ, the Christian life is meant to be lived in community – together.  That involves more than 1 hour a week. 

So, as leaders, are we seeking to build a model of togetherness in the groups we lead, or are we propping up individualism and isolation that is just accented with the weekly hour in the same room? We must all do our part to foster environments that encourage dependence on one another. We need to provide opportunities to encourage and build one another up in the faith beyond the regular 1-hour in a classroom each week.

 Here are 3 simples ways to help foster togetherness in your group: 

1. Model it – as leaders we should be reaching out to those in our group. Seeing to their needs. Praying for them. Encouraging them spiritually beyond the classroom. What others see in you, they will begin to emulate.  

2. Serve – Serving together helps build community. Accomplishing projects and ministry together will help build the bond that keeps people together. 

3.  Slow down – Take time to get to know people. Have that deeper conversation. Go to dinner with another couple or small group to know what is going on in their life and what their needs are. 

Togetherness needs to become a common descriptor of us as believers. After all, we’re going to spend eternity…together. We might as well get used to being together now!  

Finding People for Your Group

It’s a new year and a great time to invite new people to join you in your Bible Study group. The new year is one of the best times to help people begin afresh. Truthfully, most people are starting new after the holiday and break. Many are also making spiritual “resolutions” this time of year along with their organizational and health goals. It is a perfect time to go after new people, but one of the perennial problems is “where do I find them?”

Here are few ideas to find, engage, and connect with new people this January.


There are people readily available to invite. We simply aren’t adept at seeing all of them or we think “they probably won’t come anyway.” There are four simple categories that will help us be aware of the people we can invite. Oscar Thompson in his classic evangelism work, Concentric Circles of Concern, included these four categories of people to reach. These four: church, family, neighbors, and community are all places everyone already connects and where there are prospects for your group .

Church: The truth is that there are people who sit around us every week in the corporate worship time that are not connected with a small group. Start by asking the people you see sitting near you which group they go to. If they aren’t currently going, invite them to join you.

Family: Many of those in our groups have family members who live nearby whom they know are not regularly going to church and are not part of a group. They could even be the spouse of a current group member or someone else who lives in their home. We often overlook these people as potential group members and think they’ll never go. Sometimes, they just need to be asked. Even if you’ve asked before, ask them again.

Neighbors: Culture has changed significantly and neighbors don’t know one another like we did in the past. But the truth is, most all of your group members live within walking distance of a few other homes. Some can practically reach out their windows and touch their neighbor’s house. If we will make the effort to meet these people, they can become potential people for our groups.

Community – The members of your group are already around people the other 6 days of the week. Whether at work, social groups, or kid’s sports teams, they are around people. One of the biggest reasons people will go and do anything is because their friends invite them. Group members asking their friends to go with them to group and church is the leading reason anyone new joins. Encourage your group members to use their existing friendships and relationships to invite others to connect with Christ.


Simply saying to your group, “Hey, invite your friends to join us,” probably isn’t enough motivation or reminder for your people to invite others. For your group members to start inviting others, you as a group leader are probably going to have to model it first. When was the last time you, as a leader, invited someone to your group? If you aren’t excited enough about the group to invite others to it, why would anyone else be?

Second, create opportunities for easy invites. It is much easier for people to invite others to a fish-fry or a ballgame tailgate party than it is a Bible study. Schedule those types of “fellowship” events with then intention of them becoming bridges for new-comers to join you for regular group meetings.

Finally, you could do a “Friend Day” or “Pack-a-Pew” day for your group. Churches once did these emphasis days to encourage the entire church to invite their friends. There is no reason this old-fashioned approach couldn’t work in your group.

Whatever you do, however, it won’t happen on its own. It requires you as the leader to initiate it and promote it. You will be the one to determine if others are engaged in inviting others.


Once you get people to attend your small group, the work isn’t finished. Now it’s time to connect with them. When they come to group, make sure you personally greet them and welcome them to the group. Introduce them to others and mention who invited them – this serves to celebrate a behavior you hope others will emulate. Make sure you also involve them in conversation without singling them out in group discussions. Don’t forget to get contact information for them, too.

After the group meeting, now is the time to use the contact information you received. Send a card or text within the next couple of days thanking them for coming and inviting them to return. In a week or so, consider a follow-up phone call or note. It is these types of touches that help people feel genuinely welcome and want to return.

While you are contacting the guest, make sure you also touch base with the group member who invited them. Thank them for caring about their friends enough to invite them to connect with Christ. By inviting their friend to group, they are also indicating that they trust the group enough to share other parts of their life there. Consider this a complement and honor them for the value they place on the small group. At this point you can encourage them to contact their friend as well to thank them and invite them to return with them.

These ideas aren’t fail-proof. They won’t guarantee people will come, but what I can guarantee is this – If we don’t make the effort to invite people, very few, if any, will come.

Roe is Gone, Now What?

With the release of Supreme Court decisions today, a balm was applied to one of the black eyes of American culture. The scourge of the Roe v. Wade decision was removed from our national landscape and the decision of availability of abortion was returned to the states and the people.

Some might be tempted to think the battle is over. While this is a major victory for life, the battles have now moved closer to home.

Here are few things we Christians can and must do in the coming days in this ongoing fight for life.

  • PRAY
    – thanking God for his mercy and the end of the dreadful Roe decision.
    – for the many who were considering abortion who today can no longer choose that route. Pray that their hearts would be calmed, for healthy babies, and for the good gift of life to overwhelm them.
    – for those who are so angry and bitter today about this decision. Pray for the scales of sin and darkness to fall from their eyes and they too may cherish the life of those yet born.
    – for the safety of law enforcement officers, judges, and all those who may come into harms way due to the ruling from the court.
    – for crisis pregnancy centers who may see an increase in need for services.
    – for the ongoing battle for life that is present in so many states around our nation.
  • FIND the ways you can connect with pro-life works in your area. Contact the local crisis-pregnancy center near you. There are many ways that pro-life organizations are going to need the church to step up. Now is the time. Recently we recorded a podcast episode talking through these this with our local crisis pregnancy center. Listen to that episode here.
  • ENCOURAGE others to rise to the occasion. Every church should not just celebrate a “win” but shout “charge.” Roe isn’t the end, it may be the end of the beginning, but there is still much to be done. Encourage others to continue to advocate for pro-life policies, promote adoption and foster care, volunteer at pregnancy centers, mentor young men and women who need good role models in their lives. The church must rise to this task.
  • DECIDE how you are going to engage and then get to the work. We must show the world that we were not just interested in babies being born, but that we are pro-life from conception until natural death. Pro-life is not just a slogan, but it is based in our belief that all people are image bearers of the creator.
  • COMMIT. While we rejoice in the SCOTUS decision, we must recommit ourselves to the cause. We must not back down. It is even more important now because the battles have moved from the Supreme Court to the 50 statehouses and even into the local communities. Now the battle is closer to home and it will be easier to make a difference. Commit yourself today.

June 24, 2022 will be a historic date for our nation. In the generations to come may it be said that today marked a new start, a renewed priority for all lives, and a day the world changed for the better where every life is valued.

5 Questions to Connect With Your Community

Part of developing an effecting ministry to your community is getting to know your town and the needs it has. It isn’t difficult to discover these things, but it does take intentionality. Your city and community leaders most likely won’t come introduce themselves to you. So you, as the leader, – especially if you are new to the area – will have to make the effort to connect with your community.

Here are 5 questions that will help you connect as lead your church to be difference makers where God has placed you.

  1. WHO DO I NEED TO MEET? Who are the ones in our church who have a pulse on the church itself and the community? These may be educators, community leaders, city employees or people from any number of careers. These people you already know most likely can introduce you to others within your area. Leverage the contacts you already have and ask them to introduce you to others who can help you connect in your town. To make inroads in the community, you will have to meet the people there.
  2. WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW? Every community is unique. If you are new to town, you need to find out what makes this place stand apart from other places. Is there a local festival or celebration that is specific to your area? Maybe there is an event that engages the majority of the community. What are the factors that keep people in town or make people want to move there? Maybe there are some risks to the growth of the town that you can help prevent from happening. Find out what makes your town the special place that it is.
  3. WHAT IS NEEDED? Some places may think they really have all their needs met. Truth is, there are some local needs wherever God has planted you and your church. It may be something to do to help in the schools, local DCFS office, or with community beautification. Maybe there is a need for tutoring or senior citizen activities. Maybe neighborhood activities for young families? It might not be obvious on the surface, but there are some things your community needs. Do the work of discovering those needs and a pathway for community connection will be revealed.
  4. WHO CAN WE HELP? Most likely there is a underserved part of the population of your community. Could it be single parents? Maybe it is a minority group that is isolated from the rest of the community. Who is nobody else in town trying to reach or minister to? Discover this, and you have found a potential focus for ministry efforts.
  5. WHAT RESOURCES CAN WE LEVERAGE? Once you find the answers to the other questions, then it is time to consider how you can meet the needs with what you have. Maybe it is people resources you have that you can push toward a specific ministry. Perhaps you have finances or a facility that you can make available. Whatever the need, if the Lord has shown it to you, I believe He will provide the the means for you to meet that need. You may already have all that is needed. Sometimes the reason we don’t use our resources for ministry is we never ask the simple question of how can we use what we already have.

I would first ask these questions within the church and from there branch out into the broader community. Intentionally seek to meet new people and when you meet those people, seek to build that relationship and us that as a link to yet more community connections.

These questions won’t tell you everything you need to know about your locale, but it will help get you down the road. As you discover the answer to these questions, you’ll also discover how God is leading you and your church to reach your community for the sake of the gospel.

Anaheim 2022 – Day 3

This is part 4 in a brief series of posts detailing the 2022 Southern Baptist Convention in Anaheim, California. Primarily, these posts are for my own personal recollection and to share the happenings with the church I am representing as a messenger. You can see my original post here and part 2 here and part 3 here.

The last day of the convention arrived and began with the convention sermon preached by Juan Sanchez of Texas. Business of the day included the completion of officer elections. This linked article is a good summary of the elections with vote tallies and information on the officers themselves. Another part of the business session was a report on what was done with the majority of the motions made earlier in the convention. The bylaws require referral to the entities for most motions based upon the content. A motion made the day before to abolish the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) was also up for vote. It failed overwhelmingly.

The morning also contained the joint seminary report from all 6 SBC seminaries. This is always an encouraging part of the meeting as the seminary presidents present their work and what God is doing through them in their respective localities. We are blessed to support 6 conservative theological seminaries who are training leaders to serve churches and the kingdom well.

Over lunch I attended the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary alumni luncheon. Dr. Jaime Dew is doing a fantastic job at my alma mater by providing clear vision for how NOBTS will fulfill it’s purposes and prepare leaders for ministry. A renewed emphasis on missions training is an exciting part of the seminary’s future. NOBTS also is blessed to have the Caskey Center which emphasizes training for bi-vocational pastors by making theological education accessible for them. I’m thankful for the impact NOBTS had on my life and ministry, the friends it has provided, and the opportunities that lie ahead for this school of providence and prayer.

The afternoon and final session of the convention included election of the convention preacher for 2013 and the final report from the Resolutions committee. You can see all of the resolutions presented to the convention here from the Tuesday convention bulletin. The convention notably passed resolutions regarding sexual abuse, biblical sexual ethics, and affirming our pro-life support and efforts. During this session, there were some messengers that attempted to bring to the floor motions they had submitted to the resolutions committee but the committee declined to bring to the floor. These attempts failed to receive the necessary support to bring these resolutions for consideration.

Presentations were given during the day as well. The convention heard first a presentation on racial reconciliation and how to adopt a Kingdom Race Mindset. Ministry tools for churches were presented to the messengers. Also, the messengers heard encouragement on how to continue to stand for Life if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

The afternoon concluded with reports from the ERLC and Lifeway.

Here are my few brief take-aways from the SBC 2022 Annual Meeting.

  • The SBC is a big family. In big families there are always disagreements, but at the heart we are still a family brought together by the mission to get the gospel to the world. That’s why we exist.
  • We are a conservative group of churches. Yes, there are some who are not as conservative as the majority of us, but yet there is no major drift away from Scripture or its sufficiency.
  • We elected a conservative president to lead our convention this next year. He is a man who is solid theologically, understands Baptist polity, and is a grace-filled man who seeks to build cooperation among like-minded believers.
  • The SBC does have some questions I think that need answers. Primarily, I think the question is how we are going to interpret Article 3 of our constitution identifies cooperating churches as those whose “faith and practice…closely identifies” with the Baptist Faith & Message. I think in the future we may have to further stipulate how “close” a church must be to be considered in cooperation. But, until then, we need to cooperate with grace and assume the best of others.
  • We are a part of a great mission and church planting force in the Southern Baptist Convention. We need to press into it more in the coming days.
  • Anaheim, California is a beautiful place and great for conventions. I think next summer while we’re sweating in New Orleans, if someone makes the motion that all future conventions be held in Anaheim, all they would need to do is remind them of the weather in Anaheim and the motion would pass overwhelmingly. I don’t understand how anyone affords to live in southern California, but I know why they would want to ove there.

I am thankful for my church that wants to be involved in the SBC and send messengers to stay engaged in the processes. There is much more that could be said and I would be happy to visit with anyone who has questions about the proceedings or what happened in Anaheim. I may say some more about some of these things in the coming days, but for now it’s time to reacclimate to the central time zone and Arkansas summer weather.

Looking forward to New Orleans in 2023.

Anaheim 2022 – Day 2

This is part 3 in a brief series of posts detailing the 2022 Southern Baptist Convention in Anaheim, California. Primarily, these posts are for my own personal recollection and to share the happenings with the church I am representing as a messenger. You can see my original post here and part 2 here.

Tuesday morning is the official start of the convention meeting. At what is one of the worlds largest deliberative body meetings and open microphones, you never know what is going to happen throughout the day. Over 10 hours in the main hall will begin to cause things to run together, but I’ll do my best to give an overview of the day.

After the convention was officially opened and messengers were seated, the day began in earnest. The first count of messengers was 7, 421 this morning at the first report and the convention agenda was adopted.

Guidestone Financial Resources gave the first report of the day followed by a Report of Crossover Anaheim. Crossover is an annual missions outreach weekend in advance of the annual meeting. This year the report came that 500+ people responded to the gospel this weekend through the efforts of mission teams. Send Relief shared about their work as a compassion ministry in America and around the world. My hope is that our church will partner with Crossover next year in New Orleans and also begin greater involvement with Send Relief.

Next on the agenda was the IMB Sending Celebration. This always a highlight of the convention as we celebrate those going into the world to carry the gospel. This year 52 new missionaries were sent out – most of whom we couldn’t see their faces, know their real names, or hear their voices because it would imperil their safety in the nation to which they are going. Paul Chitwood challenged us that sending the gospel to the world “why we are together, and why we must stay together.”

Next came the first open opportunity for motions. Around 20 different motions were made during this allotted time period. Following this was a time of worship and a message by SBC President, Ed Litton. Following Dr. Litton’s address, the credentials committee presented a recommendation to create a study committee to provide clarity regarding the “office of pastor” as stated in the Baptist Faith & Message. This recommendation came in response from a motion last year to withdraw fellowship from a cooperating church. Discussion ensued and an amendment was proposed that would have shifted the discussion toward a discussion of what is required to consider a cooperating church to “closely identify” with our doctrinal statements. I think this amendment would have been a better motion, but the amendment failed. Later in the day, the Credentials Committee withdrew their recommendation.

The Resolutions Committee made their first presentation of resolutions for the year. 4 resolutions were approved today.

Lunch today provided an opportunity to attend a micro-conference hosted by Midwestern Seminary. It featured 6 Ted-talk-style presentations by Dr. Jason Allen (MBTS), Dr. Paul Chitwood (IMB), Dr. Mark Dever (9Marks & Capital Hills Baptist Church), Dr. Matt Carter (Sagemont Church), Dr. Kevin Ezell (NAMB), and Dr. Al Mohler (SBTS).

One of highest profile issues facing the convention this year was the report from the Sexual Abuse Task Force. This task force, in response to the recent investigation into the Executive Committee, made two recommendations. First to create an Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force to study the investigative report and make recommendations at the 2023 annual meeting. Second the recommendation included the creation of a “Ministry Check” website to maintain a record of specific persons who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse. After discussion these recommendations passed by an overwhelming majority. I believe this is a good decision and good first step for our body of churches and will be seen as an historic moment in days to come.

Messengers vote to approve the Sexual Abuse Task Force Recommendations

Other major events of the afternoon session were the reports from the Committee on Committees (A very Baptist thing) and the Committee on Nominations, officer elections, and additional miscellaneous business. Bart Barber was elected as president of the SBC after a run-off vote, and Nathan Finn was selected as recording secretary.

You may hear it said that the SBC rejected the conservative candidate, however, that is disingenuous to say because every one of the candidates for president is a faithfully conservative man. Bart Barber will serve us well. I have met Bart a few times and before I ever met him or he was running for office, I believed he would be a good man to lead our convention. He is sincere, genuine, kind, and loves the Lord and Southern Baptists. Do not fear a liberal lean or drift within the SBC. I do not see true evidence of that happening in the convention. We can trust the Lord to lead us and to use Bart within our convention in the coming days.

The afternoon wrapped up with reports from NAMB, the Women’s Missionary Union, and the IMB.

Tomorrow is another long day as the business is concluded and debated. Check back soon for another update.

Anaheim 2022 – Day 1

This is part 2 in a brief series of posts detailing the 2022 Southern Baptist Convention in Anaheim, California. Primarily, these posts are for my own personal recollection and to share the happenings with the church I am representing as a messenger. You can see my original post here.

After some minor delays in travel we arrived in Ontario, CA late Sunday evening. Traveling across the greater Los Angeles area is not too daunting at 11 p.m. 10 plus lanes of interstate traffic in sections but nothing too bad yet. For my Conway people, I’ve only seen a few roundabouts – have experienced any here yet.

Monday morning started early with a quick coffee stop and then the walk over to the convention center to register. The Anaheim weather is beautiful and is a welcomed relief to the heat wave happening back home. When we registered for the convention, there were just over 4,000 messengers already registered.

Following registration we headed to the exhibit hall. In this expansive space, around150 different organizations, entities, and ministries are promoting and sharing their work. Lifeway also has a large store where resources can be seen in person and purchased. All of the SBC entities are represented in the exhibit hall as well as many state conventions and colleges. In addition, companies that engage every administrative, staffing, and programmatic thing related to church ministry are showcasing their own things.

Sunday evening and Monday are primarily dedicated to the Annual Pastor’s Conference and a few other meetings. After a quick swing through the exhibit hall we headed to the pastor’s conference while the women went to the Women’s Session and Expo. My wife said the women’s event was excellent with Jen Wilkin speaking and panel discussions to encourage them in ministry. The pastor’s conference was a biblically solid day of preaching as pastors from all across the name and a variety of churches preached through the book of Colossians. Matt Boswell and Cowder Hall Band from Southwestern Seminary blessed us as the led in worship. (If you aren’t familiar with these musicians, you need to get to know them.)

Lunch on Monday generally provides an break for pastors and leaders at the Send Luncheon. The North American Mission Board (NAMB) and the Send Network partner to provide a free meal and encouraging program. This year Tim Hawkins entertained attendees for portion of the program. However, the highlight of this luncheon is always the other parts where faithful pastors, church members, and leaders are celebrated. As a great part of this annual event is when NAMB blesses a variety of churches and people. This year a small church in California that has faithfully continued to minister through the pandemic was given $25,000 to continue their work. The pastor joyfully exclaimed that he’d only been praying for $15,000. Another member from this church was blessed with scholarships for her kids, a year’s worth of mortgage payments, and her car she had sold to afford to pay bills returned to her.

The afternoon included another quick swing through the exhibit hall and heading back to the pastor’s conference. The pastor’s conference elected Daniel Dickard from North Carolina to lead the 2023 pastor’s conference. It was a close vote with Dr. Dickard winning by fewer than 100 votes after a paper ballot was required. I am excited for next year’s conference in New Orleans as he has a great plan for the next conference.

After dinner, the evening wrapped up with “IX Marks at 9.” This is a late night discussion from 9Marks ministry about current issues affecting the church led by Mark Dever and Jonathan Leeman. Last night the discussion centered on “Revival vs. Revivalism.”

Tuesday starts the actual convention meeting with business kicking off at 8:00 a.m. It will be a full day with many votes and reports. What I’m most anticipating is the IMB missions sending celebration.

Check back tomorrow for more updates.

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