Pastor’s Conference Returns After Three-Year Absence

Pastor’s Conference Returns After Three-Year Absence

By Stephanie Heading   |   Photos by Josh Lykins website

The SCBO Pastor’s Conference has returned - for the first time since 2019. SCBO President Ray Umphrey spearheaded the effort and hosted the event.

“My goal was to provide an event which was an investment in our state pastors and leaders, Umphrey said. “The conference was designed to be removed from SBC controversies and even our own SCBO business and simply be a time of worship and hearing from well-known respected speakers. My goal was that the entire event would be no-strings attached “gift” to pastors before the Annual Meeting.”

Cuyahoga Valley Church in Broadview Heights hosted the Pastor’s Conference, as well as the Annual Meeting – both part of SCBO’s two-day Annual Celebration.

Those attending the event were excited to have the Pastor’s Conference back at the Annual Celebration. “The atmosphere in the building was electric. I can’t remember any other time when leaders were so clearly excited and joyful to be gathering at an SCBO event,” said Dan Stupakewicz, SCBO director of IT.

Attendees heard messages from Brian Croft of Practical Shepherding, Inc. and Alistair Begg, senior pastor of Parkside Church in Cleveland and host of Truth for Life. The Jason Lovins Band from Ashland, Kentucky led worship throughout the conference.

What if the adversaries are a sign you are right where God wants you to be?

Croft shared his own story of struggle in a church during his message, “Tell me why I shouldn’t resign,” based in I Corinthians 16:5-9. He presented a new paradigm for pastoral ministry based on Paul’s actions in I Corinthians 16: 7-8. “Most pastors think the adversaries are a sign to leave,” said Croft. “It is not. What if the adversaries are a sign you are right where God wants you to be?”

According to Croft, pastors often misunderstand why adversaries are coming after them. “Sometimes when the adversaries come after you, it is not about you. It is about wounds from another pastor.” Croft also admonished pastors not to go to a church if they do not intend to stay there at least five years. “God works in time.”

Croft also participated in a panel discussion with Dr. Jeremy Westbrook, SCBO executive director-treasurer, and Dr. Ray Umphrey, SCBO president, about church planting and revitalization.

Following the panel discussion, Begg preached a message entitled, “Edified, Multiplied,” based on Acts 9. “There is a direct correlation between edification and multiplication,” said Begg. He noted that the early church had a building program. They built up the church into a spiritual house through prayer and ministry of the word.

“How easy it is to verbalize it, but not live it.” Begg challenged pastors to get serious about feeding their flock. “A pastor’s first and foremost duty is to feed the flock. Did they meet God? Did they hear God?’ Did God present himself? Preaching is a challenge and a privilege.”

Begg also challenged pastors to set the correct tone for people who enter the church. “You can come here because we are the fellowship of the forgiven.”

He also admonished all to remember who is most important in their spiritual relationship. “What God says to us is more important than anything we say to Him.”

“What God says to us is more important than anything we say to Him.”

The Pastor’s Conference will again be part of the SCBO Annual Celebration in 2023. Genoa Baptist Church in Westerville, Ohio will be the site of that event on November 6-7, 2023.

Brian Croft encourages Ohio leaders.

Ray Umphrey (right) organized the event which included a panel discussion with Brian Croft (center) and Jeremy Westbrook (left).

The Jason Lovins Band led congregational worship throughout the two-day Annual Celebration. (Jason Lovins pictured)

Alistair Begg speaking during the SCBO Pastor’s Conference November 14, 2022 

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