Pastors’ Conference unpacks the richness of God’s Word

Jose Abella, pastor of Providence Road Church in Miami, was one of 12 pastors invited to preach at this year's Pastors' Conference.The Southern Baptist Convention’s two-day Pastors’ Conference concluded June 12th in Phoenix. In all, 12 pastors of average-sized SBC churches preached through the book of Philippians under the unifying theme “Above Every Name.”

One of those pastors was Jose Abella, who leads Providence Road Church in Miami. He preached from Phil. 3:1-11.

He said that Gospel clarity protects the church against heresy. He then went on to point out how Paul had no other message than that of the Gospel, while present-day pastors can get distracted by strategies, programs and processes.

Abella then gave three reasons to strive for Gospel clarity:

  • • It helps you bring hope to your congregation. Pastors can, Abella pointed out, try to make moral people a little bit more moral, broken people a little bit less broken, and get through their counseling sessions with a little less frustration. But none of that brings hope. That is something only the Gospel can achieve.
  • • Gospel clarity also helps ensure that the Gospel message is grounded in Christ alone, Abella said, before adding: Pastors must be on the lookout for those who would want to add to or detract from the Gospel message.
  • • Finally, Abella said, Gospel clarity is the only thing that will save sinners and exalt the Savior.

Other highlights from the second day of the Pastors’ Conference included these takeaways:

• Our attempts to reconcile others to God should be the reason we as believers can achieve unity, said Jimmy Meek, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in El Dorado, Ark.

• If he had to come up with a one-word summary of the Gospel, Nathan Rose, pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Liberty, Mo., said it would be “substitution.” This reality, Rose said, proves that God loves us, and none of his sacrificial act is dependent on what we do.

• One of the most difficult things for Christians to do is realize they have no strength apart from Christ Jesus, said Ryan Rice, pastor of Connect Church of Algiers in New Orleans. He said our goal should be that faithfulness to God is enough, with our measuring stick being to see who around us is shining for Him because of our discipling influence.

• “It is impossible to serve in the Gospel ministry without actually proclaiming the Gospel,” said Jamar Andrews, pastor of Word Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Ark. “We don’t need any more spectators or commentators in the Kingdom of God. We need more participants. The playbook has already been written.”

The Pastors’ Conference started on Sunday night with a message from David Choi, pastor of Church of the Beloved in Chicago. He preached through the first 11 verses of Chapter 1. John Onwuchekwa, pastor of Cornerstone Church in Atlanta, preached from verses 12-26, and Chris Davis, pastor of Groveton Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va., finished the first session by preaching from verses 27-30.

For highlights of their presentations, go to

Kevin Bumgarner is executive editor of the Florida Baptist Witness. He can be reached via email at, and followed on Twitter @FBW_editor


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