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“Jesus didn’t say, ‘I am giving you leftovers,’ because all power is given to Him,” Kinchen said. “What He did say is, ‘Go ye therefore.’ All power resides in the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and is made available to the Lord, His people and Kingdom.”
Kinchen urged each to give their best to wherever they have been called to serve.
“There are no second rate churches,” Kinchen said. “If you and I give second rate service it is an abomination before God. He gave his best for every one of us and we are called to give our very best to one of those.”
Throughout the day, small group conferences helped church leaders hone their skills.
Bob Bumgarner, lead strategist of the Convention’s Church Leadership Group, led a conference that provided insights into overcoming typical church growth barriers at 200 and 500 members. He said that among Florida Baptist churches only 5.8 percent have 500 or more members; 12.5 percent have 200-500 members; 85 percent have less than 200 members; and 50 percent of all Florida Baptist churches have a membership of 100 or less.
Steve McHargue, an area representative with Fellowship of Christian Athletes, urged participants to adopt urgency in their outreach efforts. The key to reaching people, he said, is information, which he defined as the Gospel of Jesus Christ, plus relationships, or authentic connections, which leads to transformation. “God called us to be His conduit through relationships,” he added.
Worship is not just about music, said Terry Williams, strategist with the Convention’s Music and Worship Team in a breakout session, it is “about the master of music. We will never fulfill the Great Commission until we understand the two greatest commandments.”
In a conference on preaching, Bill Jenkins, pastor of Sopchoppy Baptist Church, explained that “preaching is communicating the Word of God as divine truth and bringing it to your people.” He cautioned, “They see your life. It doesn’t matter how much you holler on Sunday morning; it’s how you walk on Monday morning.”
Other break-out sessions focused on church conflict, led by Lewis Miller, strategist for the Convention’s Congregational Support Ministries; and church planting led by Rick Lawrence, field missionary for church planting.
Participants in the conference represented nearly 60 churches from 17 associations and included 32 pastors and five associational directors of missions.
Jay Black, pastor of Salem Missionary Baptist Church for the past 12 years, attended the meeting to get pointers on better church organization and effectiveness in reaching the community. The church has hit a plateau, he explained, and at the meeting he discovered insights on how he can get beyond the plateau.
Earl Tuten, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in Fort White, came to the conference because his church is in transition. “I want any help I can get to avoid conflict and get new direction in this phase. I want to keep my focus on the Lord, not obstacles.”
Leading pastors and churches in the Gadsden Baptist Association, Howard Adams, director of missions, said church leaders need refreshment and renewal to “continually grow. This has given me insights to help support and encourage the work in our association so I have a strong foundational relationship with our congregations.”
According to Bumgarner, the Cooperative Program-supported conference is the first of several that will be held across the state to specifically help smaller membership churches.
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