I know. I know. We have more conferences today in evangelical and Southern Baptist life than we know what to do with, but before you tune out of another conference plug, allow me to speak to a wonderful idea started by Les Puryear that has developed into a very promising conference. Next year, Les is hosting the first Impact 2008 Small Church Leadership Conference geared towards pastors and church leaders of small churches in the Southern Baptist Convention. This conference is important for numerous reasons, but let me simply mention a few here.
First, the overwhelming percentage of churches in the SBC are “small churches.” Many of these churches don’t have a full-time minister or the budgets to be able to attend other conferences which are often geared for specialized ministries of larger churches. My guess is that most small church ministers attend either the SBC Annual Meeting or their respective state convention meetings (and pastor’s conferences). While these are usually encouraging, these meetings either about convention or state business (with hyped messages interspersed). With all that said, it has been a long time waiting to see a conference provided by a small church leaders for small church leaders for the advancement of the gospel and building of Christ’s Church.
Second, there is an overemphasis on mega-church pastors today. In our professionalized and corporate mentality, it is the biggest churches and profiles that give convention addresses (and sometimes chastises small church pastors for not being like them) or are asked to speak at chapel services (there is even the megachurch pastors meeting where all the big whigs get together on a regular basis). There is an implied assumption that if you are not a megachurch pastor, you have not arrived. Having a small church leadership conference is a welcomed corrective to this unhealthy ethos that has enveloped the SBC.
Third, while it is true that the United States is becoming increasingly urbanized, there are still large swaths of society that live in the rural areas of the fruited plain. Simply put, there are areas in our country where there are not many people to win to Christ nor are they easily accessible. However, reaching the lost in rural America is just as important to God’s Great Commission as the burgeoning church of America suburbia. This conference brings the striking mind that Christ has other sheep not of this fold, and the small churches in rural America are essential to reaching them with the gospel.
These are but a few of many reasons why this conference is important. So if you are a small church minister, let me encourage you to seriously consider attending this conference. Perhaps you are not a leader or minister in your church but know that your pastor would be greatly encouraged and helped by this conference. You could help by paying for his registration (only $50). In any case, I am grateful for this conference and look forward to seeing how Christ, our Head, builds His Church through such promising means as the IMPACT 2008 Small Church Conference.
Here’s the details:
March 27-29, 2008
Session Topics Include:
Session I – “A Convention of Small Churches”
Session II – “Critical Issues and Solutions for the small church”
Session III – “God’s Call on the Small Church Pastor”
Session IV – “How Is God at Work in the Small Church?”
Session V – “How the Small Church Can Be Involved in Church Planting”
Session VI – “How to Have a Vital Children & Youth Ministry in the Small Church”
Session VII – “Financial Considerations in the Small Church”
Session VIII – “Innovative Evangelism Strategies for the Small Church”
Session IX – “The Role of the Small Church in the SBC”
Session X – “Affordable Technology for the Small Church”
Session XI – “Small Church and International Missions: Partnering Locally to Reach Internationally”
Session XII – “How Should Success Be Measured in the Small Church?”
* Frank Page
* Jerry Rankin
* Brad Waggoner
* Les Puryear
* Kevin Bussey
* Micah Fries
* Tony Kummer
* Greg Lawson
* David McEachern
[note: there is a limited registration (300) for this conference, so if you are considering attending, be sure to register early]