BONIFAY — The 2014 State Evangelism Conference will be offered at First Baptist Church in Bonifay host the annual evangelistic meeting during the last week of March.
The Bonifay gathering will meet Thursday and Friday, March 27 and 28.
“Each day Florida Baptists will be encouraged and equipped by dynamic speakers and teachers from across the country,” said David Burton, lead strategist the Florida Baptist Convention’s Evangelism Group, which sponsors the event.
The conference is being held in two locations this year to increase accessibility for all Florida Baptist pastors, said Burton. “Our pastors are extremely busy these days meeting needs of their congregations. Conferences in two locations will make it easier for them to attend and not be absent for as long from their church field. Also travel and accommodations are expensive and this will help ease that burden.”
The theme of the two-day meeting is “Love-Share,” focusing on the Convention’s “Love Your Neighbor, Share Christ” evangelistic emphasis.
“An evangelism conference with a clear focus on reaching others for Christ is critical because so often we find churches and pastors losing their edge and heart for evangelism,” said Burton.
“Too many books, authors and conferences tell us what doesn't work today without ever showing and telling what does work. Sometimes complacency sets in the people our pastors are serving,” he added. “We intend to have a pastor return to his church with fresh, new energy, insight and compassion to help these people push back darkness and lostness.”
Keynote speakers slated for the Central Florida meeting in Daytona will be Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, who will speak on Monday night; and Bobby Welch, associate executive director/church growth of the Tennessee Baptist Convention and past president of the Southern Baptist Convention, who will speak on Tuesday night.
Burton said he was “thrilled” to have Patterson and Welch encourage Florida Baptists. “Dr. Patterson is such a gifted teacher who has a heart for the Word and evangelism. Dr. Welch is on fire for the gospel and has demonstrated that in local churches and in the SBC.”
They will be joined by Tim Maynard, president of the Florida Baptist State Convention and pastor of Fruit Cove Baptist Church in Jacksonville; and Nick Garland, pastor of First Baptist Church in Broken Arrow, Okla.
Mike Landry, pastor of Sarasota Baptist Church, will preach Tuesday morning.
The Panhandle conference in Bonifay will feature Garland; John Sullivan, executive director-treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention; and Craig Conner, pastor of First Baptist Church in Panama City on Thursday night. The Friday night session will offer Sullivan, Maynard and Herb Reavis, pastor of North Jacksonville Baptist Church in Jacksonville.
Also on the program is Robert Bradow with Cross Heir Outfitters, a non-denominational Christian ministry reaching outdoorsmen with the Good News through sportsman banquets, beast feast and outdoor expos.
“From the reports I have received, pastors who are serving in the Panhandle region—many who are ministering in small and rural communities--are excited to see an evangelism conference with discussions and speakers geared to their unique setting,” Burton said.
During the two events, panel discussions and seminars will be led by pastors of Florida Baptist churches that are effectively reaching their communities for Christ.
Daytona seminar leaders will include Charles Jones, pastor of New Covenant Church in Orlando; Mark Howell, pastor of the host church; Rodney Keith, pastor of Gardenview Baptist Church in Jacksonville and Charles Roesel, director of missions for the Sumter Association who developed the ministry-evangelism concept as pastor of First Baptist Church in Leesburg.
The Bonifay meeting will feature Phillip Herrington, pastor of First Baptist Church in Live Oak; Shelly Chandler, pastor of the host church; Jackie Watts, pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church in Madison; and Ken Harrison, pastor of Northside Baptist Church in Ponce de Leon. Other seminar leaders include Ron Lentine, pastor of Myrtle Grove Baptist Church in Pensacola; Shawn Johnson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dowling Park; and Rich Kincl, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Tallahassee.
Throughout the meeting, ministry exhibits designed to help churches increase their evangelistic activities will be on display including the Strength Team, illusionist Brock Gill and CrossHeir Outfitters.
Morning sessions will convene at 9:15 a.m. on all four days; afternoon sessions from 1:20 p.m. to 4:50 p.m. and evening sessions begin at 6:45 p.m.
No pre-registration is required to attend any of the meetings, which are provided free of charge as a Cooperative Program ministry.