Dr. Kevin Parker - 2018

Dr. Kevin Parker serves as a state missionary and director of media services for the Baptist Convention of New Mexico.

I attended two meetings this week that really shook me - in a good way. The first was an away-from-the-office Baptist Convention of New Mexico team leader meeting. It occurred at Sandia Baptist Church, Albuquerque (my home church). The second meeting was the BCNM’s Revive Conference, offered in partnership with the North American Mission Board and Blackaby Ministries.

I must confess my starting attitude with both meetings. My week was crammed full of deadlines and “to do” list entries. I wasn’t thrilled about the timing of the long team leader meeting off-site. I had advocated for its planning, but when the week came, I was swamped. Yet, I prepared and thought through the items on our agenda and gathered and produced things to share when the topics came.

The Revive Conference was scheduled during my single day off. I’m currently serving as an interim pastor on the weekends, so that day is usually given to preparing for Sunday. I was hardly thrilled about losing a half day to the conference. My wife had expressed interest and I had thought about going in my interim pastor role. So, we registered and went.

Both meetings presented a discouraging personal cost, from the perspective of time. I had to work very late several days to accommodate the holes the events created in my week. Basically, I needed to create an additional day and a half to make everything work. In reality, only God can do that.

Do you hear my whining and complaining heart? All along, God knew He was injecting opportunities and inspiration into my week, not disaster and trouble. In retrospect, Scripture does say that God’s plans for me aim for “welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). It is so easy to forget God’s reality when our limited one is pressing in on us from every side.

Both meetings were actually tremendous and inspiring. I am not afraid of long meetings, especially ones with great content, insightful discussion and strategic implications. Both meetings had all of those things. I came away with many nuggets and some full treasure chests of great ideas, decisions, and such.

One meeting began by exploring Jesus’ words in Matthew 4:19, “‘Follow Me,’ He told them, “and I will make you fish for people.” Incidentally, that morning I had begun the evangelism focused section of a book I am working through in my quiet times. I had been praying over 15 names of likely-lost people I know.

Jesus’ plan for making me, and you, fishers of men began with “follow Me.” The discussion among my colleagues was how we rarely begin evangelism training by focusing on people simply following Jesus and letting Him work us into being evangelizers. That takes away a lot of stress. We agreed evangelism was important, but it begins with the essential component of following Jesus. That drives evangelism. I have taught that verse many times, but missed the clear order of Jesus’ plan: “Follow Me,” THEN, “I will make you fish for people.” I had a deep spiritual experience with that.

My second spiritual experience occurred in the Revive Conference. One idea wholly captured my attention. It was not new to me, just freshly introduced. It was this sequence: A Christian’s greatest purpose on earth and in heaven is to glorify God. Everything leads to that. And, Scripture says, “My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be my disciples” (John 15:8). We lengthily discussed what fruit was, how we produce it and how to increase our fruit.

The seminar leader expanded and explained that thought, but it all revolved around the fact that bearing fruit is how Christians glorify God. And, Jesus said “much fruit.” For me, that capped the whole day. I wish I could share more. Follow Jesus! Bear fruit!

SN6498

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