Pastors from across the state gathered at River District Church, formerly known as First Baptist Church, West Columbia, on Nov. 9 for the 2020 South Carolina Baptist Pastors Conference.
Chad Campbell, pastor of Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church in Easley, served as president of this year’s conference. During both sessions, attendees were led in worship by Jeremy Medkiff and the Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church praise team and praise band.
The theme for 2020 was the “Sufficiency of Scripture,” drawn from Psalm 19:7, which says, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” Campbell reminded pastors: “When we search for answers to the questions facing our churches, our culture, and our convention, we must look to the Word of Truth, or we will find ourselves in a world of trouble. Scriptural truth trumps social theory every time.”
Gary Hollingsworth, executive director-treasurer of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, started the conference with a greeting and words of support from the SCBC. Hollingsworth expressed the importance of encouragement among pastors serving in these days of difficulty.
Wayne Bray of Simpsonville’s First Baptist Church further developed the theme “Sufficiency of Scripture” with a theme interpretation from 2 Timothy 3:16-17. He challenged attendees, saying, “Sufficiency of Scripture is affirmed doctrinally but must be experienced practically and personally.”
Stephen Rummage of Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma delivered the opening message of the afternoon session from 1 Corinthians 15. Rummage focused on the priority of the gospel message of Jesus Christ. “You add to it, it’s not the gospel. You take away from it, it’s not the gospel. Proclaim it, because it’s the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”
Anderson University once again sponsored the Pastor of the Year awards. Michael Duduit, dean of Clamp Divinity School at Anderson University, presented the awards. This year’s recipients included Philip Pinckney, Larry Baldwin and Clay Smith.
Stuart Houston of Rock Springs Baptist Church in Easley closed the afternoon session with a message from Hebrews 4:12. Houston was crystal clear: “There is no deficiency in the Scripture’s sufficiency.” He challenge pastors to rise up and be people of THE Book.
A Chick-fil-A dinner was provided by North Greenville University for alumni and friends. Gene Fant, president of NGU, provided an update on happenings at the university.
Josh Powell, president of the 2020 South Carolina Baptist Convention, kicked off the evening session with a convention preview, recognizing God’s faithfulness over the last 200 years in the SCBC.
During the evening session, Ron Lynch preached a message titled, “The Sufficiency of Scripture in Preaching” from 2 Timothy 4. He reminded pastors of “the authority we must embrace,” “the evaluation we must face,” “the amusement that’s a disgrace,” and finally to finish the race. He encouraged pastors to know and preach the Word.
Delivering the last message of the 2020 Pastors Conference was Mike Stone of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Blackshear, Ga. Stone’s message, “The Bible is Enough,” from Psalm 119:105, sought to lay forth a biblical defense of the sufficiency of Scripture while illustrating the ways that doctrine is being subtly eroded in the denomination. As in many areas of Christian experience, some do not always manifest practically what they affirm verbally.
Officers for the 2021 Pastors Conference include: Michael Welch, Clearview Baptist Church, Travelers Rest, president; Zach Shaw, Jones Avenue Baptist Church, Easley, president-elect; and Brett Aiken, Temple Baptist Church, Simpsonville, treasurer.