Published November 27, 2018
PIKEVILLE—Kentucky Baptist pastors were called to stand strong and proclaim the gospel in a world that's in desperate need of good news.
A progression of preachers from 30 to 80 years old spoke during the Kentucky Baptist Pastors' Conference in Pikeville, offering encouragement for church leaders of every generation.
Pastors' Conference President Travis Farris, pastor of Walnut Memorial Baptist Church in Owensboro, said ministers need that encouragement, especially in times of confrontation, criticism and spiritual warfare.
"That is what this conference is about," Farris said. "It's for the pastor struggling to hold on."
Evangelist Bob Pittman preached from a passage he said is often overlooked, Luke 6:17-19, where Jesus meets people where they are and offers a personal touch. Pittman reminded pastors Jesus still wants to love them through difficult circumstances.
"You're never a bother to Jesus," he said. "You're never a burden to Jesus. He loves you. He loves your family. He loves your ministry. Jesus wants to love you through your most difficult moments."
Danny Siquefield from Faith Baptist Church in Bartlett, Tenn., brought the reminder that "God has a history of blessing pastors who love their church." He also encouraged pastors to focus on sharing their faith both inside and outside the church family.
"Jesus has a long history of walking toward people who never saw Him coming," Siquefield said.
Hollie Miller, pastor of Sevier Heights Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tenn., warned pastors of pitfalls, including potential moral failures, telling them to carefully guard the boundaries of their own marriage and family.
Christians must live their lives before a holy God, Miller said, and they must be careful to take His commands seriously as they live in obedience.
Rani Espanioly, a cross cultural mobilizer with the Baptist General Convention of Texas, said believers should follow Jesus' example and to go to people who may be considered unclean and filthy. He challenged pastors to examine themselves and humble themselves as Christ did, asking, "Are we willing to cry out, 'Lord Jesus, cleanse me first?'"
Boston church planter Jason Tallent said the Great Commission is challenging, but God is faithful to help preachers carry it out.
"There are more people coming to Christ around the world than in any other time in human history," he said.
Binghampton Community Church Pastor Shun Abram of Memphis, Tenn., said if pastors try to live this life on their own power, they will fail.
"We're not in competition," he said. "We're on the same team. So, run Kentucky, run and don't ever stop."
Alabama evangelist Junior Hill called on Kentucky pastors be a happy, joyful people.
"If you have a fretful spirit and you can't control it, just don't go to church on Sunday morning," he said. "When you are fretful, you will make someone else fretful also."
Kentucky Baptist pastors elected Kenny Rager, pastor of Life Community Church in Owensboro, as president-elect of the 2020 conference.
Brandt Lyon, pastor of Twelve Oaks Baptist Church in Paducah, is the 2019 conference president. (KT)
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