The 2016 Ohio Pastors Conference (PC) was held Tuesday, November 1st at FBC Vandalia. Our PC theme this year was "Moving Forward" based on Philippians 3:14. More than 300 people attended the event which began with a luncheon sponosred by The North American Mission Board (NAMB). After a hearty lunch, NAMB President Dr. Kevin Ezell, had an informal conversation with Ohio Convention President Dr. Jeremy Westbrook concerning all that NAMB is doing to assist and encourage church planting in Ohio. Those attending were reminded that Ohio is only one of two states (California being the other) that have three Send Cities. (Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati). We were also encouraged and informed as to how NAMB continues to help support our church planting and church strengthening processes!
Following lunch and the conversation and Q + A session with Dr. Ezell, folks retreated to the sanctuary for the afternoon session, which began with the Long Hollow Praise Band (from Long Hollow Church in Hendersonville, TN) leading in worship. Dr. Ezell then brought an inspiring message on the subject of "Reaching Ohio: One Neighborhood at a Time." His over arching emphasis was a reminder that we are to "love our neighbors as ourselves." Gddly love lived out in our daily lives will bring people to saving faith in Christ.
Dr. Russell Moore, President of the Ethnics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) then took the podium and began his time with a Q+A session with Ohio and NAMB Collegiate Evangelism Stategist Dr. Brian Frye. This informal conversation was beneficial in that it helped attendees understand how Dr. Moore relates to local, state, and national entities on behalf of the ERLC and the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Attendees were also exposed to hearing of how Dr. Moore speaks to the moral and ethical issues of our day. After the Long Hollow Praise Band led again in a time of praise and worship, Dr. Moore brought a message on how to "Change Culture One Nighborhood at a Time." He emphasized being patient with others, morally pure ourselves, and learning to relate to others as they struggle with the issues of our current culture.
After a dinner break, Long Hollow returned to lead worship and then Dr. K Marshall Williams (Pastor at Nazarene Baptist Church in Philadelphia, PA) brought a rousing message concerning how Chistians can "Build Bridges One Neighborhood at a Time." He emphaisized the imprtance of relying on the Spirit of God and encouraged us to get real about the challenges our culture faces, especially as they relate to ethnicity, social issues, and religious differences! The evening concluded with Dr. Williams leading us in a time of prayer for ourselves, God's church, and our nation!
All in all the day was indeed a blessing. The music and preaching were superb. The fellowship was constant and encouraging. The host church (FBC Vandalia) and their team of staff and volunteers were so hospitable and accomodating in meeting our every need. And to top it off, the weather on November 1st was remarkable (79 degrees)! Add in multiple ministry give -aways throughout the day (including books, Cd's, and gift cards), and the Church Planting New Beginnings Dinner Banquet and you coudn't have asked for much more!
Special thanks go out to our SCBO staff, our presidents Jeremy Westbrook, David Starry, and Tom Pendergrass, and to Robin Pennington for her staff of volunteers at FBC Vandalia. Finally, I want to thank all of you that attended. I pray the day was a blessing, challenge, and encouragement to you. It certainly is my honor to serve with you and alongside you in Mission Ohio, as we strive to reach Ohio for Christ! I trust you'll already begin making plans to attend next years event on Tuesday, November 7th at Chillicothe Baptist Church. Let's keep "Moving Forward," pressing on toward the goal of winning the prize of the high calling of God in Christ!
There Is Victory In Jesus,
Jack Helton, Evangelism Reaource Group Leader