FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) - With nearly 80 percent of churches in the Southern Baptist Convention plateaued or declining, church revitalization is a necessary ministry, according to Kenneth Priest. Priest serves as interim director of the Center for Church Revitalization, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas.
Addressing pastors during the fully online Church Revitalization Conference, April 1, Priest said that in light of the importance of such a ministry, the conference aimed to help pastors answer the question, “Are you doing all that you can do to reach the nations where God has planted you for the purpose of advancing the Gospel?”
The conference featured multiple speakers with ties to Southwestern Seminary, including President Adam W. Greenway, who began the conference with a session titled “Biblical Revitalization.” Greenway traced the story of the church of Ephesus from Acts 20 to 1 and 2 Timothy and concluding in Revelation 2. The church’s story revealed its need for revitalization over time, Greenway said, which is “a word and reminder to us about the task of revitalization: it is a perennial one.”
Southwestern Seminary graduate Matt Henslee, senior pastor of Mayhill Baptist Church, New Mexico, also spoke at the conference, covering the topic “The Sufficiency of Scripture in Church Revitalization.” He specifically taught from 2 Timothy 3:16-4:5.
Henslee, a Southwestern doctor of ministry student, noted the primary task for all church pastors: faithfully preaching the Word, and faithfully reaching the lost. All of this, he explained, comes from a foundational belief that Scripture is sufficient in every aspect of the pastor’s calling, and it is what drives everything pastors do in the lives of their churches.
“We have to get after it,” Henslee said. “I have to get after it. Eternity is coming for all of us, and heaven and hell hang in the balance for all around us. So, before God and Christ Jesus, our righteous Judge, we are to preach the Word. We need to get it straight and give it straight. A faithful preacher or teacher will do nothing short of this.”
Other speakers at the day-long event included Bob Bickford, lead pastor of the Groves Church in St. Louis, Missouri; James Womack, senior pastor of Destiny Church in Fort Worth; and Kyle Bueermann, senior pastor of the First Baptist Church, Alamogordo, New Mexico.