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By Tobin Perry
ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Josh Hayes can
recount a variety of takeaways from a Sept. 18 church revitalization conference
in Little Rock, Ark., led by Johnny Hunt—from
reminders that ministry is a “people business” to the importance of equipping
your congregation for the work of ministry. Yet one particular takeaway was a
Hayes, the children’s pastor at Grace Community
Church in Marion, N.C., has felt the
Lord lead him in recent years toward becoming a lead pastor, a call that has
brought with it a collection of new fears. At the North American
Mission Board conference God used
Hunt to calm those fears.
Hunt, pastor of First Baptist
Church, Woodstock, Ga., told the audience he had quit high school early because
he had to do a public book report. He then said that God could turn their
greatest weakness—as Hunt’s fear of public speaking had been—into strength “for
the glory of God.”
“My eyes were just burning with
tears,” Hayes said. “They were those hot tears. It was a strong, humble moment
where God was just infusing me with strength. I looked over to the corner of
the room and just started saying to God, ‘I’m afraid. I’m afraid of everything–from
meeting new people to leading the Lord’s Supper at a church. I’m afraid of
dealing with difficult deacons. I’m afraid of everything. I’m afraid of a
church chewing my family up. It was like God just whispered, ‘I know. I know. I
know.’ I went up and told Johnny I drove 10 and a half hours just to hear you say
Now a new Leading for Change lab
written by Hunt and sponsored by NAMB will focus on helping pastors and other
church leaders through this type of personal leadership development and revitalization.
Content is built around the conviction that refreshed and growing churches are
led by refreshed pastors. The first will take place prior to NAMB’s Send
North America Experience tour stop in Kansas City, Mo., on Oct. 7. The workshop is being called a “lab” because it includes
times of hands-on application when participants start developing their plans.
“I hope there will be a renewed belief,
interest, involvement and dreaming once again among our churches that have been
around for some time that they can once again know new life,” said Hunt (@johnnymhunt).
Hunt notes that while there has
been a renewed interest in church planting within Southern Baptist life in
recent years, he has also seen a growing interest in revitalizing struggling
churches. Hunt hopes the lab will help spur on that trend even more.
Chris Emery, NAMB’s director of
church revitalization, said the lab material came out of NAMB’s partnership
with Hunt and First
Baptist Woodstock and revitalization
conferences held over the past two years.
“I asked him one day,” Emery
said, “‘Pastor Johnny, how do you have the energy?’ He basically said that God
had given him a second wind.”
Emery says he had heard Hunt say
over and over again that you can’t have a revitalized church without a
revitalized pastor. Hunt and Emery then began exploring topics for a future lab
that would focus more on the pastor and his leadership team than the church
“Everything rises and falls on
leadership,” Hunt said. “If a church is going to be revitalized, it must start
with the leader. If the leader doesn’t believe in his dream and his vision for
revitalization, he will never sell the people.”
The lab will take place from 1-5
p.m. before the main Send North America Experience tour event in the evening of
Oct. 7. A Multiplying Urban Leaders with the gospel lab with the Rebuild Network and a LoveLoud lab will also
take place that afternoon in Kansas City.
The Send North America Experience
tour is a gathering for the church that challenges all believers to “leverage
their lives in a way that counts for the kingdom.” The tour is visiting cities
throughout North America in 2014 and 2015 leading up to the Send North
America Conference Aug. 3-4, 2015, in
For more information—including
dates, speakers, musicians and more—concerning the labs, the Send North America
Experience tour, the Send North America Conference and more, visit sendconference.com.
Tobin Perry writes for the North American Mission Board.
Date Created: 9/22/2014 2:26:06 PM
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering®© Copyright 2014 North American Mission Board, SBC