BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (KT) — The Monday evening session of the 2022 Ministers’ Conference brought two names familiar with Kentucky Baptists to the pulpit at First Baptist Church in Bowling Green.
Donnie Fox, the outgoing president of Clear Creek Baptist Bible College, spoke first, followed by Pastor Buck Run Hershael York, who is also dean of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary School of Divinity and renowned author.
Ministers’ conference president Kyle Noffsinger, president of Southside Baptist Church, introduced the ministers to the Unusual theme to preach throughout the day.
Noffsinger also had a brief roundtable with Fox and York in between when they each talked about advice they learned from their years at the ministry.
“You must keep a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ at the forefront,” York said. “It must be about him. It’s not an exemption from suffering or rejection or any of those things. It must be the pursuit.
Fox added, “You keep that personal connection there when you’re in the Word. The Lord uses his Word.
Donnie Fox, who is retiring at the end of the year as president of Clear Creek Baptist Bible College, said it has been a blessing to serve for Baptists in Kentucky for more than 23 years.
In a moving farewell, Fox said he looked forward to seeing how God will work in Clear Creek in the future.
In keeping with the “uncommon” theme of the pastors conference, Fox preached about an uncommon faith – asking the question: are we common or uncommon?
“As believers, we are both,” he said. “We share a common greeting. Moreover, when we become believers in Christ and follow him, we have a lifetime ahead of us to walk in uncommon faith. Living with extraordinary fidelity is not a formula, it is a way of life. Am I satisfied with the common or am I ready to take a step in faith and be uncommon?
“Joshua 14 shows us what uncommon faithfulness looks like. Caleb’s claim to part of the land was based on God’s promise to him. In his claim for inheritance, the example of Caleb’s life gives us a picture of what uncommon faith looks like throughout a lifetime. What should it look like in your life?”
Fox said an uncommon faithfulness will manifest itself in a courage to stand up for God at all times when the common thing is to stand down. Caleb was completely devoted to God’s promise.
“We’re tempted to think there’s no point in trying any more, or that I can’t make a difference anymore, or that it’s not worth it anymore,” Fox said.
“If we lose the gospel, we have lost everything. We must stand with uncommon faith.
Fox added that “an uncommon faithfulness will show a faithfulness to carry on for God even when the common thing to do is to quit.”
Fox observed that Caleb didn’t let his age deter him. “Many years before he had traveled the country, considered owning a particular mountain, and Caleb never lost his desire for his heritage. Each day that he lived, he yearned to receive what God had promised him.
“Think of his life over those 45 years – he was determined to keep inheriting the promised land. Caleb wasn’t going to give up this close to the finish line.
“We need people who are committed to finishing the race. Too often, we often settle for less than what God has for us. So many times we settle for the valley of defeat, of compromise. May we not settle for less than what God has best for us.
Fox said the enemies of God urge us to withdraw, but he implored the people to “go and claim your mountain today by uncommon faith. We are never too old, never too young, to make new conquests of faith in our Lord.
Further, Fox stated that an uncommon faithfulness will show a trust that God will provide in the future when the common thing is to be consummated with the present.
“For 45 years Caleb trusted in the promise that God would provide for the future of his people in the promised land. Caleb spent 45 years in the desert, and it wasn’t his fault he was there. He remained faithful. How many times have I abandoned God after a day, a week, a month, a year.
“Victory and reward did not come quickly for Caleb. Before all his questions were answered, Caleb trusted God for the future. Caleb was rewarded—God honored his faithfulness. We can trust to God to do the same for us. If we persevere, God will reward us. The inheritance that awaits us will be worth all the effort.
Fox pointed out that believers can have the same uncommon faithfulness that Caleb had “because God has provided for our future…the best is yet to come.”
Fox said that when there is no faith in the future, there is no power in the present. “We know that God holds the future and we can face tomorrow without fear.”
Fox urged believers to “live a life of faithfulness and know that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.”
York spoke of the uncommon shepherd and the reward that awaits those who do it well.
“One might be tempted to think that faithful shepherds are rare,” he said. “They are not uncommon. They’re so busy getting ready, preaching the Word, and living for Jesus. They only make headlines in heaven.”
York used 1 Peter 5:1-4 as the text. In this passage, Peter was explaining to his fellow elders how to shepherd people. York said Peter not only looked back, but looked forward.
“As men immersed in the Word of God, we have a vantage point from which we observe God’s purpose, God’s plan and God’s passion,” he said. “The prospect of his return. Jesus came to save us from sin but for his glory. A balanced ministry tells the whole story of redemption. We are witnesses of the suffering but partakers of the glory.
Peter urged the elders to feed God’s flock well. “I love everything about it. He could have said manage, direct, direct, direct, control or lead,” York said. “But he said shepherd.”
York said he was in Israel when he saw a man behind a flock of sheep carrying two large sticks. He asked the guide, saying he had never seen a shepherd leading from behind. “He told me he was not a shepherd. He’s a butcher.
“Do you think God knows the difference between a shepherd and a butcher? »
York said that “the man of God leads from the front. They do not guide from behind. Who are you leading? You lead the sheep. What a reminder. They are not yours. They don’t belong to you. Shepherd the flock of God that is among you.
He said pastors sometimes do a better job of pastoring the church they wish they had instead of the one God gave them.
“God asks us to lead like Jesus by becoming obedient unto death, death on the cross,” he said.
A good shepherd for those who succeed comes with a great reward, the passage says.
“When you’re that kind of pastor, what do you get? The crown of eternal glory. We have seen the sufferings of Christ, but the day is coming when the High Shepherd will call his under-shepherds to stand before him and partake of the glory to be revealed. I don’t know what troubles are behind you in your church. The chief shepherd notices everything you do. Every hurt, every slight, every act of obedience. Someday He’s going to give you a crown of unfailing glory. If you tend the flock, you will hear ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’
Fields to lead 2024 pastors conference
Barry Fields, pastor of Glendale at Cave Mill, was acclaimed president of the 2024 Ministers’ Conference. He was nominated by John Mark Toby, fellowship mission strategist for the South Central Baptist Association.
“He has done an amazing job in evangelism and had a great impact in the community during COVID,” Toby said. “He’s a phenomenal preacher and he cares about reaching people for Jesus.”