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Pastors' Conference launches scholarship opportunity


PHOENIX — The Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference has announced it will provide $1,000 travel scholarships to pastors of “average-sized churches” who cannot otherwise afford to attend the Pastors’ Conference and SBC annual meeting this summer in Phoenix.

In keeping with the focus of this year's Pastors' Conference on pastors of small and midsized congregations, an estimated 5-20 scholarships will be available beginning April 10 on a “first-come basis,” funded by donations from larger churches, the Pastors' Conference leadership team announced March 30 on the SBC Voices blog.

The leadership team noted 5-20 is only an estimate, with the actual number of scholarships linked to the volume of donations received.

The Pastors’ Conference will feature preaching, worship and prayer to undergird the ministry of pastors and their wives. The sessions at the Phoenix Convention Center will be held June 11-12, prior to the SBC's June 13-14 annual meeting. The 12 conference preachers lead churches ranging in size from 60 to 500 worship attendees.

Pastors’ Conference President Dave Miller told Baptist Press larger churches traditionally have helped fund the event. This year, however, conference costs have been covered by New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s Caskey Center for Church Excellence and other sponsors, freeing the conference's traditional sponsors to help in a new way.

“We decided to ask these churches and others to contribute in a different way,” Miller, pastor of Southern Hills Baptist Church in Sioux City, Iowa, said. “Why not help smaller and average churches, who cannot afford to send their pastors to Phoenix, to do so? God has provided for the Pastors’ Conference, so we are asking people to help by sending smaller and average church pastors who couldn't afford to come.”

Pastors can apply for the scholarships at SBCVoices.com beginning Monday, April 10 at 11 a.m. Eastern Time. To qualify for a scholarship, applicants must serve churches with average worship attendance of fewer than 200 people, and their congregations must be either unable or unwilling to fund expenses.

The scholarship money may be used for travel, hotel, meals, book purchases and any other convention-related resources. Scholarship recipients must agree to attend all sessions of the Pastors' Conference and SBC annual meeting. (BP)

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