Seldom have I seen pastors and leaders encouraging one another the way they did last week at a leadership-training event. On May 3rd the PBA Leadership Team sponsored a conference entitled, “Pursuing Excellence: Taking Your Church to the Next Level.” Early in the planning process, the Leadership Development Team decided rather than inviting the usual “big name” personalities, they would invite four of our own association’s pastors and leaders. The pastors were chosen because their churches and/or their church ministries have consistently impacted their community.
Kudos to the team for a great choice! The resulting program blew our socks off. What was most significant was what we didn’t hear in this seminar. We didn’t hear things like “Here’s how we do it.” or “”Let me tell you how it’s done.” Rather, these four men shared from their hearts how God is at work in and through their ministries. Each speaker was dramatically different from the rest, yet everyone shared a common theme – a desire to see radical transformation happen in their community. And, their humility revealed a total dependence on God for the success of their ministry.
It was obvious these guys are using a different scorecard. It isn’t about numbers, or the usual church statistics, but about people, transformed lives, and advancing the Kingdom. We didn’t hear them focus on themselves or their church, rather on the way God is being glorified because people’s lives are being radically transformed through the Gospel. I listened to them talk about “the Kingdom” much more than they did about “our church” or “our denomination.” What a refreshing and encouraging experience!
Michael Barrett, pastor of Pleasant Garden Baptist Church shared some of the significant moments in his pilgrimage as a pastor, and how God has directly shaped his ministry at Pleasant Garden. Jim Scott, former NLF football player, and Youth Minister at Cornerstone Baptist shared the new opportunities God has brought their way for a unique men’s ministry in their church and community. Chris Lockhart, a church planter, shared how God is miraculously opening doors of opportunity for his congregation to partner with other Kingdom ministries to meet the needs of the hurting and needy people in High Point. The fourth pastor to share in the seminar was Daryl Love from Crossover Community Church. Pastor Love shared from his heart about how God worked through a group of pastors from different denominations to make a dramatic impact on homelessness in their community.
I wish more pastors could have heard these men. However, this is only the beginning! Because of the tremendous success of this event, we will definitely plan more for the near future.
This was a God moment, a divine appointment in the life of our association. More important than the shared information was the dialogue, the new friendships, and the mutual support the pastors and leaders experienced. You could see it, and feel it, and when it was over, no one wanted to leave.
One of my “take-aways” from this experience was how simple it is for pastors and leaders to encourage one another. It doesn’t take elaborate plans, a well-known speaker, or some unique, “out of the box” event. However, it will not happen without effort. It does require providing a time and a place where men and women can be transparent, genuine, open, and teachable. I believe there is a growing hunger today for venues where leaders can have these kinds of experiences.
I must express my appreciation to our Leadership Development Team for planning and coordinating this event: Mark Gray (Epoch Greensboro), Chuck Joyce (Central Baptist), Tony Moore (Trindale Baptist) and Robert Steele (Green Street Baptist). Thank you all! Great Job! .
To our readers who live in the area around Greensboro and High Point. I promise to let you know about our next event. To those who do not live in our area, I’d love to share with you more about what made this event so impactful for our pastors and leaders.