Breakout sessions new to Empower Conference

Sagemont Church in Houston hosting annual SBTC evangelism event, Feb. 24-26.

The annual Empower Conference will include a new offering this year: Breakout sessions to complement the preaching and speaking lineup that characterizes most Baptist state evangelism conferences.

“This year is the first time we have done breakouts. We designed these to be a time of practical training for pastors, staff and church leaders,” said Nathan Lorick, the SBTC’s evangelism director, of the Feb. 24-26 conference at Sagemont Church in Houston. “I believe that this will set the tone for a great conference.”

The breakouts will be Monday afternoon (Feb. 24), and the speakers will be Afshin Ziafat, pastor of Providence Church in Frisco; Steven Smith, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary vice president of communications and professor of preaching; Alvin Reid of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and an expert on reaching the next generation; Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research; Charles Roesel, pastor emeritus at First Baptist Church, Leesburg, Fla., which under his leadership grew largely through baptisms; Matt Boswell, pastor of ministries and worship at Providence Church in Frisco; and Paul Tripp, author of “Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry,” published by Crossway.

“The breakouts are a great opportunity for church staff to come away with some new ideas on how to reach their communities with the gospel,” Lorick noted. “Our desire is that these breakouts may somehow rekindle a desire for intentional evangelism with churches’ strategies.

“I believe that everyone who comes to a breakout session will walk away refreshed, encouraged and inspired to further fulfill the Great Commission in their context.”

There will be two sessions—from 1-2:30 p.m. and 2:45-4:15 p.m.

In both sessions, Stetzer will speak on making small groups evangelistic, based on his latest book. Ziafat, a former Muslim, will address cross-cultural evangelism in the first session and will team with Boswell during the second session for a dialogue on gospel-centered worship. Roesel will discuss doubling baptisms through ministry evangelism while Smith will address connecting through preaching.

Meanwhile, Tripp will cover offering care that leads to cure, and Reid will address leading churches to reach the coming generation.

For the latest information on breakout sessions, visit

TEXAN Correspondent
Jerry Pierce
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