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Ezell urges pastors not to isolate themselves
Norman Jameson, BR Editor
November 17, 2010
6 MIN READ TIME

Ezell urges pastors not to isolate themselves

Ezell urges pastors not to isolate themselves
Norman Jameson, BR Editor
November 17, 2010

Kevin Ezell, new president

of the North American Mission Board, urged pastors not to isolate or insulate

themselves from the pains of people, no matter how large or small their church.

Preaching at the annual

pastors’ conference, held this year for the first time at the same site as the

annual Convention sessions, Ezell said the grief that Christians at Ephesus in

Acts 20 declared at the Apostle Paul’s leaving them demonstrated he was

intimately involved in their lives.

Kevin Ezell, elected

Sept. 14 by a split vote of trustees, was transparent and personable as he

reminded pastors “most will not be judged by how we arrived but by how we

depart.”

Even though pastors

sometimes “pour your life into people and sometimes they respond and sometimes

nothing happens” and even though ”sometimes you invest and invest and invest

and there is nothing there … we never get to the point where we insulate

ourselves from the cares of people.”

Paul told his disciples they

were all going to Jerusalem and even though he warned them “it’s going to get

ugly” that didn’t change their perspective. Too often that is unlike the

response of American Christians, he said. “We have become so spoiled.”

The only unanimous vote

Ezell ever has received was the 7-0 call to his first church, he said. “We have

a comfort zone and we like it and we typically stay in it.”

Ezell and his wife have six

children, including three adopted from three different nations. Orphanage

officials warned Ezell to be careful when he took his newly adopted 11-year-old

to the hotel because J.M. had never felt hot water. The orphanage had none.

Of course, after Ezell

demonstrated the controls for J.M.’s first hot water shower, the boy stayed in

there for 45 minutes and declared it “wonderful.”

“Most 11-year-olds in

America want an IPod, he just wants warm water,” Ezell said. “

Most of us forget where

we’ve come from.”

For weeks J.M. woke Ezell

with the promise that “I will be a good son for you today.”

“If only every believer would wake up and go to bed every

night with the same intent as we bow our knees to pray and say ‘God, I will be

a good son for you, I will be a good daughter for you and will do my best to

please you every day and night.’”

Ezell asked pastors to

consider what people will remember when they look at their ministries. He said

he has done many funerals during his ministry and it is easier to personalize

the funeral of a deceased whom he knows. He needs more input from a distant

family.

So he asks some questions to

be able to relate the personality of the deceased. When one family member said

of his mother, “She was the meanest woman I know,” Ezell said, “That’s not

going to work.”

“It is amazing how people

can live 80 years and their life is summarized in just a few seconds,” he said.

“Take a stop watch and time the things you really value. What difference will

it make that you were really here?”

Call to personal holiness

A late substitute for Johnny

Hunt who was trying to trim his schedule, frequent pastor’s conference speaker

Don Wilton, pastor of First Baptist Church in Spartanburg, S.C., called pastors

to personal holiness.

Preaching from Galatians 5

Wilton spoke frankly and said, “Young pastors aren’t lining up to stand beside

us because of our conduct.”

He lamented the conduct of

pastors that makes secular headlines and tells the world they do not believe

what they have preached. “We can meet until the cows come home,” he said, “but

unless we ask God to take hold of our hearts and change us from inside out …

you will not be able to do the things that you imagine you can do.”

He said legalism has “crept

into the ranks of our Southern Baptist denomination” and that “we have become a

denomination of boasters and braggers and preachers who stand up in

self-aggrandizement.”

From this chapter Wilton

said for those who claim to love Christ, there will be revealing sin, releasing

love, and reflecting results.

“Fewer and fewer people want to come to church because they

watch the behavior of our people,” Wilton said.

They see the sexual sin, the

worship sin and the character sin.

He said just the previous

day another pastor in his hometown fell to sexual sin. “Is there someone here

today committing adultery?” he asked as he peered with piercing eyes over the

crowd. “Are you that man?”

While God says such sinners

will not inherit the Kingdom, Wilton says Baptists have “become powder puffs in

the pulpit because we don’t believe it.”

Instead of preaching and

living with boldness, Wilton said, “We have another convention and write

another ding dong resolution about the Great Commission.”

“One reason so many people

don’t want to come hear people like you and me is because we behave like

dipsticks,” he said. “We’ve cultivated a people who come not to hear what God

wants them to hear but what they want to hear.”

He emphasized that only a

pastor’s personal holiness, of the kind that asks, “Lord what is it that You

would say to me,” and “Father how can we lead those young people,” will inspire

and lead others to new life.

“The role of evangelism is

not complete until the evangelized become evangelists,” he said. “We have to

understand that the fundamental responsibility of the evangelist is to be holy

because God is holy.”

Pastor’s Conference officers

Lee Pigg Jr. was elected as

pastor’s conference president-elect, which means he will take the helm in 2012.

He is pastor of Hopewell Baptist Church in Monroe.

Scott Faw was elected vice

president and Dale Robertson was elected treasurer for the 19th time.

This year’s president-elect Bobby

Blanton, assumes the role of president for 2011’s conference. Blanton is

president of the Board of Directors for the Baptist State Convention of North

Carolina and pastor of Lake Norman Baptist Church in Huntersville.