It's more than a theme for this year's Southern Baptist Pastors' Conference. It will be an eagerly anticipated answer to the prayer and fasting of the conference's president, Ronnie Floyd, his church, and others asking God to anoint the June 15-16 sessions in the Dallas Convention Center prior to the June 17-19 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention.
"Pray ... pray ... pray ... for a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit," Floyd exhorted, in order for the Pastors' Conference to be a pivotal time of energizing Southern Baptists "to take the gospel to each subculture in America and the unreached peoples of the world."
Floyd and the church he pastors, First Baptist in Springdale; Ark., began a 40-day period of prayer and fasting May 6 for the Pastor's' Conference, enlisting members on a one-day-a-week basis.
The names of pastors and evangelists scheduled to address the Pastors' Conference will be "put before the Lord," Floyd said, "in fasting and prayer, encouraging them to join us one day out of the 40 days, so that their hearts will really be spiritually prepared for what God wants to do."
The speakers include: Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ; Oklahoma Congressman J.C. Watts Jr.; former SBC Presidents Adrian Rogers and H. Edwin Young; and Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Community Church in California.
Floyd said he believes God has begun to create some real fire and desire among Southern Baptists for spiritual renewal in this country" — and that "God is creating a time where He is going to bring a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit ... not simply to revive the church, but to revive the church to bring closure to the Great Commission of Jesus Christ."
For Pastors' Conference speakers, Floyd said he sought leaders whose ministries have been "marked by a mighty outpouring of God's Spirit," telling them, "I do not want you to simply share a sermon, but share with Christian leaders a message from God. Share out of your life and what God is doing in you."
Floyd has also held conference calls with each session's speakers "to build a spiritual climate and camaraderie to pray for one another every day so that they might be better prepared to impart the truth of God."
Pastors' Conference sessions will begin at 1:45 and 6 p.m. Sunday, June 15, and 8 a.m. and 1:10 and 6 p.m. Monday, June 16.
Additionally, a special session Will be offered for pastors' wives and other Christian women at 8 a.m. Monday in Hall E of the Dallas Convention Center.
Sensing a deep concern from last year's SBC annual meeting for the struggles pastors wives face at times, Floyd said he hopes the special session will provide them spiritual help "to embrace the ministries of their husbands."
Addressing the women's session will be Barbara O'Chester, director of Great Hills Retreat Ministry, Austin, Texas; Nancy Leigh DeMoss, director of publications and women's ministries for Life Action Ministries, Niles; Mich.; Beth Moore, founder of Living Proof, Inc., Houston, and Teresa M. Brown, director of Heart to Heart Women's Ministries, Charlotte, N.C.
On Monday morning, the pastors will have a seminar-like session on church health and church growth, Floyd said, featuring Ed Young, pastor of Second Baptist Church, Houston; Rick Warren; Johnny Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Ga., and James Merritt, pastor of First Baptist Church, Snellville, Ga.
Floyd said he has asked them "to not worry about preaching sermons, but get up there and teach in a practical sense, like we're in a seminar, and teach the practicalities of what God used to build their ministries in their churches, because these are four of the greatest church growth-type pastors in the entire Southern Baptist Convention."
Missions — from reaching the inner cities to the unreached people groups across the Middle East, Asia, and other parts of the world — will be a key focus of the 6 p.m. Sunday session, Floyd said. Speakers will be Adrian Rogers, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in suburban Memphis, Tenn.; urban leader Wellington Boone, president of Wellington Boone Ministries, Atlanta; and international evangelist K.A. Paul, founder and president of Focus on the 10/40 Window, Houston.
The other Pastors' Conference sessions will feature:
Sunday 1:45 p.m.: Keith Thomas, pastor of First Baptist Church, West Palm Beach, and president of the Florida Baptist Convention; Stan Coffey, pastor of San Jacinto Baptist Church, Amarillo, Texas; Harold O'Chester, pastor of Great Hills Baptist Church, Austin, Texas; and Bruce Perkins,. pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Grapevine, Texas.
Monday 1:10 p.m.: 0.S. Hawkins, pastor of First Baptist Church, Dallas; Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, Dallas; Claude Thomas, pastor of First Baptist Church, Euless, Texas; and evangelist Ken Freeman of San Antonio, Texas.
Monday 6 p.m.: Bill Bright; J.C. Watts Jr.; and John Maxwell, founder and president, INJOY ministries, San Diego.
Among the musical groups featured during the Pastors' Conference will be choirs and orchestras from the churches led by Floyd, Hawkins, and O'Chester.
"There probably has not been a more influential meeting in my life as a pastor than the Pastors' Conference," Floyd said of the sessions he has attended over the years.
"I remember one specific thing back in 1988 — I will never forget Edwin Young preaching about the importance of prayer in your church," said Floyd, who chairs the SBC Executive Committee in addition to his Pastors' Conference presidency "That message was really used of God to launch me into a brand new era in my own personal spiritual life and my life as a pastor."
Convention Kids' Program
Children attending Missions Day Camp during the 1997 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting, June 17-19, will be able to visit the Dallas Aquarium; experience hands-on, interactive experiments at The Science Place; view an exciting adventure on the wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling screen at the IMAX theater; and picnic on the Texas State Fair grounds.
Other features will include a show from Bunny Martin, "the yo-yo guy," and a trip on the DART train to the Dallas Zoo.
The SBC Missions Day Camp is for boys and girls who will have completed grades K-6 by camp time and whose parents are attending the annual meeting. It is sponsored by the recreation ministry of the First Baptist Church in Dallas and coordinated by the Brotherhood Commission, SBC Parents who had children registered in Missions Day Camp last year will receive a pre-registration packet automatically Parents who did not have children in last year's day camp should call (214) 969-2447 for a pre-registration packet.
A three-day option of $75 per child is available as well as a two-day option of $60 per child or a 1-day option of $40 per child.
Missions Day Camp provides a missions education program for children of messengers during all daytime sessions of the convention (Tuesday through Thursday).