The theme for the 2016 North Carolina Baptist Pastors’ Conference is “Worth Fighting For,” according to conference president Cameron McGill. Speakers will address a patriotic theme.
“The emphasis is that our nation is worth fighting for,” McGill said. The Sunday night service will honor those who have served or are presently serving in the United States armed forces.
Bobby Welch, retired pastor of First Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Fla., and a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, will preach an evangelistic message and share his personal story in the opening session. He will underscore that “souls are worth fighting for,” according to McGill.
Welch, who served in the Vietnam War, was injured in combat and believed dead.
A medic saw signs of life and revived him. The Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient’s experience was a major turning point in his life and played a significant role in his call to preach.
“We want to thank the military personnel for their brave service – whether they are currently serving or have served in the past,” McGill said.
“Ultimately we want to thank the One who gave His life to rescue and redeem us from sin.”
The Sunday service includes a testimony from Tom Martin, a Vietnam veteran who was shot down in combat and left for dead.
McGill, who serves as pastor of Dublin First Baptist Church and The Lake Church said the three-fold purpose of this year’s conference is first to offer an event that is “encouraging to N.C. pastors at a time when we certainly need to be encouraged to keep the faith. Second, it is a time to honor those that have served us.
“Thirdly, we plan to give an evangelistic challenge to those patriots who have never had a personal relationship with Jesus.”
Music in the Sunday evening service will be led by the Mighty Echoes, an African-American group, and by the praise team from Dublin First Baptist and The Lake Church.
Monday’s services will focus on other areas “worth fighting for, including the family, the Word of God, our denomination – what it means to be a N.C. Baptist – and the challenges we face in our state,” McGill added.
Preachers include C.J. Bordeaux, retired pastor and now director of missions for the Pee Dee Baptist Association; Mark Harris, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte; and Tom Wagoner, lead pastor of Central Baptist Church in Dunn.
Two father-and-son teams will share on the program: Timmy and Brandon Blair, and Hampton and Ethan Drum. Timmy Blair is senior pastor of Piney Grove Chapel Baptist Church in Angier and the current president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. Hampton Drum is senior pastor of Langston Baptist Church in Conway, S.C. The pastors’ sons, Brandon and Ethan, will share from their recent experiences in the military.
“Never has there been a time in our nation’s history where the people of God needed to stand up, stand firm and stand together, and realize all that is worth fighting for,” McGill said.
He said pastors fight for many things, “but maybe we have lost sight of what we should be fighting for. We need to fight for those souls who are lost in sin.
“We’re not just supposed to be salt that stings, but salt that preserves, also. Not just light that identifies the sin, but light that illuminates the Savior. This is where the theme stemmed from in my heart. I think God has put the right people together for this conference.
“I think we are in most tumultuous days as a nation, but as the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, we’re in some of the most fruitful days and days of greatest harmony,” he said.
“As a convention we seem to be heading in the same direction together and our prayer is that it is in the right direction.”
The pastor’s conference will be held Nov. 13-14 in Greensboro’s Koury Convention Center, two days after Veterans Day on Nov. 11.