Pastor to Pastor: Mark this as ‘priority’ on your calendar

It’s an epic understatement for pastors to say, “We need each other.” It’s tragically self-deceptive to think we do not need other pastors to help provide the reassurance we all require to finish well.

Mike Runion

Mike Runion

Consider the following statistics, which offer a portrait of the group of people called “the church,” whom Christ left in charge of bringing hope to the world:

6,000 churches close their doors every year.

3,500 Americans leave their churches every day.

Less than 20 percent of Americans attend church regularly.

Only 15 percent of churches in the U.S. are growing numerically.

Only 2 percent of churches in the U.S. are effective in winning converts to Christ.

Only 9 percent of evangelical church members tithe.

Only 800 new church plants survive each year.

At least 10,000 new church plants would be needed each year to keep up with the population growth.

Only one pastor in 10 retires while still in the ministry.

The world needs the hope of Christ. In endeavoring to share this hope, you, the pastor/preacher, pay a high price in terms of time, family, income and health. The 2016 South Carolina Baptist Pastors’ Conference will be a time of prayer, preaching and talking about our need for mutual encouragement.

Our preachers this year are Dick Lincoln, Gary Hollingsworth, Ted Traylor, Jeff LaBorg, Junior Hill, Rob Wilton and Don Wilton. North Greenville University’s Joyful Sound and Kay Crowe Bayne will provide music, as will the choir from Forestville Baptist Church in Greenville.

The Pastors’ Conference is Monday, Nov. 14, 2016, at Trinity Baptist Church in Cayce. Our theme will be “Not Ashamed of the Gospel” (Romans 1:15-16).

I am writing to remind you to place this date on your calendar and mark it “priority.” Make plans now to attend and hear an encouraging word from some inspiring men of God. Don’t become a statistic!

— Mike Runion is pastor of City View First Baptist Church in Greenville and president of the 2016 South Carolina Baptist Pastors’ Conference.