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THE MUTED RUMBLE OF MORE THAN 150 excited voices stilled reluctantly as National Moderator Tim York welcomed attendees to the opening session of the 2005 Free Will Baptist Leadership Conference. Leaders representing more than 23 states, Canada, France, and Panama gathered to address the theme, “A Better Survival Strategy.” Services and seminars dealt with the difficult and important topics of depression, ministry burnout, and strategies for more effective ministry.

After the congregation enjoyed the music of Rejoice! Ministry Team (Free Will Baptist Bible College), keynote speaker, Robert J. Morgan, stepped to the podium in place of North Carolina pastor Randy Sawyer who was unable to attend the conference due to health concerns. A pastor, author, and nationally acclaimed speaker, Morgan pastors the Donelson Free Will Baptist Church in Nashville.

He spoke on the subject, “Hanging Tough,” from 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. The two-part sermon, which continued Tuesday evening, introduced listeners to four dimensions of ministry: (1) The “onward” dimension which keeps going in spite of problems; (2) the “outward” dimension that requires leaders to minimize aging and care for their aging physical bodies; (3) the “inward” dimension or inner man who is renewed every day by his relationship with the Holy Spirit; and (4) the “upward” dimension of ministry, the unseen, eternal blessings God reveals to us as we mature in our relationship with Him.

FOLLOWING A LEISURELY BREAKFAST on Tuesday morning, conference attendees enjoyed seminars featuring a variety of presenters from across the denomination including Sherry Anderson (TN), Keith Burden (TN), Danny Conn (FL), Paul Gentuso (TN), Roy Harris (TN), Dean Jones (TN), Tim Owen (FL), Eric Thomsen (TN), Bert Tippett (TN), Jack Williams (TN), and Randy Wilson (OK).

Four seminar tracks addressed the topics of stress/depression, meeting planning, publications, and general church management. Those attending the workshops received practical tips ranging from taking better photographs to working more efficiently with the church secretary.

THE NOMINATING COMMITTEE of The National Association of Free Will Baptists met Tuesday afternoon to consider and recommend nominees for board and commission positions to be filled at the 2006 convention in Birmingham, AL. Tim Campbell (AR) chairs the seven-person committee.

The Tuesday evening service led by William Smith (GA), began with the music of the Free Will Baptist Bible College Chamber Choir featuring rousing renditions of classic spirituals, “Ezekiel Saw the Wheel” composed by Moses Hogan and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” composed by Mark Hayes. Dr. James Stevens, chairman of the music department, conducts the 40-voice choir.



©2005 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists