ANAHEIM, Calif.—From the planning to the worship music to the preaching, Southern Baptists of Texas Convention pastors were a major presence at the Southern Baptist Convention’s 2022 Pastors’ Conference June 12-13.
Collin Baptist Association Executive Director Matt Henslee of Texas served as president of the conference, which featured messages from Colossians and was centered on the theme “We Proclaim Him.”
Worship was led by Matt Boswell, pastor of The Trails Church in Celina, accompanied by Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Cowden Hall Band.
Marcus Hayes, pastor of Crossroads Baptist Church in The Woodlands, offered a Monday morning message of encouragement and gospel unity from the apostle Paul in Colossians 2:1-7, warning listeners to beware the world’s “haters.”
Paul wants leaders to see his “deep love for the church,” resulting in “care, concern, and compassion,” Hayes said, noting that often, “Care has turned into criticizing. Concern has turned into categorizing. And compassion has turned into canceling people.”
Hayes later added that “encouragement goes a long way” and that “Jesus plus nothing equals everything.”
“Be careful that you and I don’t come up with a different type of Jesus,” Hayes said. “Fashion your idea and your theology and your Christology on Jesus and who Jesus is and how He has presented Himself in the Scriptures,” Hayes said, remarking that Colossians is saturated with solid Christology and reminding all that “Jesus is not coming to take sides. He is coming to take over,” and that “the gospel still works.”
Among Monday afternoon’s speakers was Matt Carter, pastor of Houston’s Sagemont Church, who focused on verses 12-14 of Colossians 3:12-17.
Carter said the passage emphasizes the biggest problem facing the SBC today: division.
He affirmed the convention’s need to fight against “worldly philosophy and human tradition” and for “doctrinal fidelity and theological accuracy.” He vigorously cautioned that in so doing, Southern Baptists have stopped looking like Christ and started to look like the world, often lacking the one thing Jesus said would characterize His disciples in John 13:35: love for one another.
“Love is maybe the only evidence of your salvation that you can’t fake,” Carter said. “I would imagine that every single solitary person in this convention would raise their hand and say that they are saved. They would say they are born again. Why in the world are we not known by the one thing Jesus said we would be known by?”
Carter called for the SBC to become a “convention of churches that is known for biblical faithfulness and tender-heartedness.”
Israel Villalobos, pastor of Spanish ministries at Irving’s Plymouth Park Baptist Church, preached on Colossians 3:18-4:1. Villalobos focused on the family as presented in Colossians 3:18-4:1, noting that the apostle’s previous discussion of the church informed his teaching on the household.
“He is trying to help them live a Christian life in ways that God has ordained and, in so doing, bring our heavenly Father glory and honor,” Villalobos explained.
“Paul was presenting a view of marriage that actually elevated women to a level of equality and value,” Villalobos said. The command for husbands to sacrificially love their wives was revolutionary in Paul’s day, where marriages generally existed for the continuation of family and position, Villalobos added.
“[Paul’s] thought would have been mind-blowing to those who were listening,” he continued.
Also culturally astonishing, Paul’s teaching on the relationship between master and slave was not an endorsement of slavery, but a radical humanization of slaves, who might be likened to modern employees, Villalobos said.
Evangelist Julio Arriola, Send Network SBTC director, spoke on Colossians 4 in the conference’s evening session. Arriola referenced Colossians 4:1 before delving into 4:2-6, reminding all that they have a master in heaven and that Christ is supreme.
God has decided to move and act at the beat of His servants’ prayers, Arriola said, leading into the text, where Paul urges his readers to devote themselves to prayer.
“Prayer is greatly needed now,” Arriola said. “We dedicate time to speak to God because we believe that He is supreme. He is important, but also, He is available.”
There is an urgency for prayer for our families, our churches, our leaders, the lost, our world, he said, urging alertness with thanksgiving: “It is time for Southern Baptists to change their grieving chants for a grateful song.”
“If we pray constantly, we will develop a tender heart for people,” he added.
At the conclusion of the conference Monday evening, Daniel Dickard—pastor of Friendly Avenue Baptist Church in Greensboro, N.C., was elected to serve as the next president of the Pastors’ Conference.