Viewpoint: Grateful for Pastors Who ‘Pass It On’

The 2013 South Carolina Baptist Pastors’ Conference was a time of encouragement and challenge to our South Carolina pastors to “Pass It On!”

Because of our amazing conference sponsors, we were able to conduct the meeting without a love offering and provide a barbecue meal for 250 of our pastors. One pastor walked up to me after the conference with an offering, and it was such a blessing to be able to say to him, “We are completely covered.” In addition, the pastoral ministries department of the South Carolina Baptist Convention provided some wonderful refreshment getaways to Edisto Beach and the mountains of North Carolina. For all of these things we say thank you!

The Lord used each of our speakers to bring encouragement and challenges to our hearts and minds. In the first session, Dr. Gary Rogers, our newly elected president, encouraged us from the Gospel of John to seek the Lord for healing when discouraged and wounded in ministry and to avoid the substitute “pools” of man that will offer no healing.

Dr. Peter Beck challenged us to be like Ezra and have a love for God’s Word — to preach it, read it and live it out in front of our people. Dr. Beck challenged us to take hold of God’s Word and love the Lord supremely, even more than the church He has called us to pastor.

After lunch, Dr. Alex McFarland challenged us to engage our culture and preach the truth while recognizing the decay of our nation. He challenged pastors to take up their central role as leaders and theologians and preach the truth to this generation — to preach the truth even if it costs everything.

Dr. David Miller spoke twice at the conference from the books of 1 and 2 Samuel. The expositional messages from the narrative of Rizpah, the concubine of Saul, and the donkeys of Kish were encouraging and challenging messages concerning the providence of God in the details of our lives. Each message encouraged us to see how God will use our actions to affect the present and future, and how we can trust that God is working out His plan in every detail of our lives.

Dr. Pat Kilby closed out the afternoon session with a stirring message on adversity. He encouraged pastors from James 1 with a message entitled, “Don’t Quit!” He spoke from his own personal struggles about how the Lord can bring one through adversity.

After supper, Dr. D.J. Horton opened the Word to the pastors and challenged them from the words of Paul to endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, and fulfill their ministry.

Each speaker brought his own experience and perspective to our theme. I can say that each message was an answer to prayer. Many pastors came to me and thanked me for the program theme, but the comment of one fellow pastor, in particular, stuck with me. He said he had recently been forced out of his church and that the messages had ministered to his heart and given him what he needed to keep going.

I am thankful to have had the opportunity as president of the Pastors’ Conference over the past year to encourage and express the love of Jesus to our pastors.

Easler is pastor of Corinth Baptist Church in Gaffney.