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The mission of the Pastor/Leadership Development Department is “to strengthen leaders so they can strengthen the church.” To accomplish our goals, we have focused the resources of our department on the priorities of Unleashed Leadership Development, Unprecedented Church Expansion, and Unparalleled Missionary Mobilization. Our target audience consists of pastors, church staff, deacons, church officers, ministry assistants, church leadership teams, church committees, youth/adults in vocational guidance, and college students committed to church related vocations. We have concentrated our energies on resourcing and equipping our target audience so that church leaders can be effective in fulfilling the Great Commission.
To assist our audience, we respond to requests from individuals, provide training on the associational level, and conduct both regional as well as statewide conferences. These equipping and training events are initiated by our department as well as a response to requests from local church and associational leaders.
During the past year, our department staff experienced the retirements of Dr. C. Alan Woodward, our department director, Dr. G. Keith Gordon, consultant, and Dr. Dale Holloway, the bivocational/small church specialist. Our present staff includes Cathy Taylor, ministry assistant.
Throughout the year we have worked with more than 2,000 ministers, staff personnel and spouses, and church members to resource and train for ministry. Some of those emphases included:
Alan Woodward, Steve Stone, and Johnny Ervin collaborated in expanding a statewide coaching ministry. Over 35 coaches were trained and certified for the ministry and approximately 100 coachees completed the process of the coaching covenant agreement.
Doctors Wayne VanHorn, Daniel Caldwell, and Ronald Meeks lead in the statewide preaching conference that focused on the Old Testament book of Isaiah. They covered the background and setting of Isaiah, the theological themes and issues of Isaiah, and sermonic approach to the book of Isaiah. Over 160 pastors and students participated in the conference.
We begin the year with an emphasis on deacon ministry by encouraging deacons in every church to review their training plan and ministry goals for the year. Over 1,000 deacons participated in some form of equipping for ministry. Some of the more requested deacon conference topics were: Bible Based Deacon Ministry, Deacon Ministry Today, How Deacons Help Manage Church Conflict, and Effective Pastor/Deacon Relationships.
To equip, train, and encourage ministry assistants we conduct two major events each year. The Ministry Assistants Conference provides ministry assistants with opportunity for fellowship, sharing, and enrichment. The Professional Certification And Office Skillshops For Ministry Assistants provides continuing education, enrichment, and fellowship for ministry assistants through certification and training. Over 75 ministry assistants participated in these events.
CRV BANQUETS/STUDENTS DAY
Christian Religious Vocation students are training for ministry on each of our three Baptist college campuses. To connect with and encourage those students we host CRV banquets at all three colleges. Dr. Jim Futral is our featured speaker for the banquets and he always challenges those students for the work of ministry. The banquets are our opportunity to go to the college campuses and interact with the students. Student Day is when the CRV students come to the Baptist Building to see first-hand the ministry resources available to them as a result of the Cooperative Program. This year 138 CRV students toured the Baptist Building on Student Day.
CHURCH BUILDING SERVICES
A ministry to assist churches in the process of securing additional space or renovating existing space is provided statewide. This year over 50 committees were trained to lead their congregations through the process of construction. Buildings are tools for ministry and churches need the right building/tool to assist in ministry. Not only are churches led to procure the space needed for today but to plan for future expansion of their facilities.
A significant area of pastoral ministry includes Bivocational (dual career)/Small Church work. A growing number of pastors are entering bivocational ministry. Somewhere around 600 of our churches are served by dual career ministers. Our department works with the Mississippi Council of Bivocational/Small Church Ministries to inform, assist, and encourage bivo ministers and associational leaders. We also provide planning sessions, retreats, and training events for our bivocational/small church pastors.
Our department serves as the facilitators for Seminary Extensions form Nashville and centers supported by associations. There are presently around twenty Seminary Extension centers teaching courses across the state.
Frequently asked questions of P/LD Ministry:
Our department is focused on equipping and training events and responding to requests that come usually in the form of an email or phone call. Throughout the year, we receive several calls from church leaders and members, such as:
a. We cannot find our legal documents. What do we do?
b. We have heard about shootings in churches. What can we do to protect ourselves responsibly?
c. We operate a daycare at our church. What guidelines do we need to follow to be sure the children are safe and the church is not at risk?
d. What is the difference between licensing and ordination?
These and many more questions represent the full scope of our ministry. We commit ourselves to either answer a question or find someone who can.