In a seven-minute video posted at www.sbcpc.net, Vance Pitman, church planter and lead pastor of Hope Baptist Church in Las Vegas, Nev., said he is praying 1,000 churches will commit themselves during the conference to plant churches in "pioneer areas" of North America. He also announced that part of the annual offering taken during the gathering will be used to finish translating the JESUS Film into the language of an unreached people group in the Arabian Peninsula.
The conference, which will be held June 12-13 in Phoenix, Ariz., will meet under the theme of "Aspire: Yearning to join God's kingdom activity." The Pastors' Conference is an annual two-day experience held prior to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting, to provide encouragement, training and networking opportunities for church leaders.
Pitman said in the video that he sees "a renewed sense of urgency , a renewed passion like never before, to take the Gospel to the very ends of the earth." Pitman said that as his conference planning team prayed about the 2011 program, they felt led to focus on Romans 15:20 -- "I aspire to preach where Christ has not been named ...."
Pitman, who himself was sent to plant a church in Las Vegas through the North American Mission Board, said the pastors' gathering would focus on planting churches in North America and taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
Unlike most years, the 2011 Pastors' Conference offering will not be used to recoup meeting expenses, Pitman said. Instead, the bulk of the collection will be used to finish translating the JESUS Film into the language of an unreached people group in the Arabian Peninsula.
"Think about it: Just because we had the Pastors' Conference, a people on the other side of the world, that's never been exposed to the Gospel, will for the first time have the Gospel in their language," Pitman said.
The remainder of the offering will be used to conduct pastors' conferences on two continents that will use national leadership to assist church leaders in about 20 countries, Pitman said.
"We wanted to be able to say that because we had a pastors' conference, we're going to be birthing pastors' conferences and ministering and pouring into the lives of thousands of pastors from 20 countries on two different continents," Pitman said.
To enable the offering to be used for mission causes, Pitman said he has made a commitment to raise the money needed to cover conference expenses.
Registration is free for the event, which will be held June 12-13 in the Phoenix Convention Center's north building. The www.sbcpc.net website lists event speakers as including Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif.; Ken Whitten of Idlewild Baptist Church in Tampa, Fla.; Afshin Ziafat of Providence Church in Frisco, Texas; Louie Giglio of Passion City Church in Atlanta, Ga.; Bob Roberts of Northwood Church in Keller, Texas; Peter Ndhlovu of Bible Gospel Church in Africa in Lusaka, Zambia; Paul Gotthardt of Life Baptist Church in Las Vegas, Nev; Darrin Patrick of The Journey Church in St. Louis, Mo.; Gregg Matte of First Baptist Church in Houston, Texas; evangelist Bob Pitman of Muscle Shoals, Ala.; and Johnny Hunt of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga. More conference speakers are expected to be named and the conference schedule is expected to be released Feb. 15.
The site also says the worship leader for the conference will be J. Teddy Johnson of Hope Baptist Church in Las Vegas; the guest instrumentalist will be Jamar Jones of the Potter's House Church in Dallas, Texas.
For more information about the meeting, visit www.sbcpc.net.
Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor and senior writer Mark Kelly.
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