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The 2012 Called to Communicate conference, sponsored by the State Board of Missions (SBOM), focuses on helping pastors take their preaching, speaking and teaching to the next level of effectiveness.  Facilitated by the SBOM’s office of leadership & church health, this year’s event was held November 1 at Heritage Baptist Church in Montgomery. More than 300 pastors and church staff attended – a record high for the event – to learn from Baptist leaders, Jim Shaddix and Fred Luter.

Shaddix is pastor of teaching and training at The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham and also serves as professor of preaching at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Fred Luter is pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, La., and president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Shaddix led the morning session and focused on the topic of “Preaching with Power.” He was quick to remind pastors to “make sure your goal in communication is to glorify God alone.”

“There is a radical difference between something being about someone and being from someone,” said Shaddix, reminding the participants how easy it is to turn the focus away from the Gospel and toward the pastor.  In some extreme cases the pastors become almost “rock stars,” he said, and the message gets lost.

Shaddix also noted how tempting it is for a pastor to fill his weekly message with unimportant things.  “The passion of our lives must be Biblical exposition,” he said.

SBOM executive director Rick Lance introduced Fred Luter to begin the afternoon session.  Luter told pastors that they must be prepared as messengers.  “We need more preachers, more pastors who have a healthy fear of God,” he said.

Luter noted that pastors can easily get caught up in the business of the church and neglect to spend time in prayer and preparation.  “My vertical relationship to God affects my horizontal relationship to man,” he said.

Foundational to communicating effectively, Luter said, is to remember that being a pastor is not just a job.  “Preaching is a calling, not a career!” he said.

Luter also spoke about his role as president of the Southern Baptist Convention and challenges that have been borne out of his new responsibilities.  He said the experience has reminded him of the top priority his family should have. “Pastors, your families come before your church,” he said, to a chorus of amens throughout the room.

After the conference, Bradley Rushing, pastor of Mt. Gilead Baptist Church in Dothan, stated through his Twitter account, “Enjoyed sitting under the teaching of Jim Shaddix and Fred Luter. Two men of God with wisdom gained through years of faithful service.”

Mike Jackson, director of the office of leadership & church health, was pleased with the event and the quality of the presentations. “We’re delighted that Fred and Jim could be with us for the day, and grateful for both the information and inspiration these two servant leaders provided,” he said.

View pictures from the event at – http://www.flickr.com/photos/alsbom/sets/72157631903607925/

To view and/or download video of each of the sessions visit – https://vimeo.com/channels/ctc12

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