Bivocational ministers gathered online Feb. 20 for the Alabama Baptist Bivocational Fellowship’s first ever virtual conference.
“We need to stand with each other and encourage one another,” said Tim Henning, president of the Bivocational Fellowship and pastor of New Beginnings Fellowship, Trussville. “This has been a great day for me. I have been so refreshed.”
Usually a two-day retreat held at Shocco Springs Conference Center in Talladega, this year’s event was a one-day meeting hosted online and livestreamed from NorthPark Baptist Church, Trussville.
Speakers included Henning; NorthPark pastor Bill Wilks; Jacky Connell, pastor of Eden Westside Baptist Church, Pell City; and Kevin Blackwell, executive director of Samford University’s Ministry Training Institute and disciple-making and teaching pastor of The Station Church, Bessemer.
Connell shared about his personal journey in the pastorate.
Henning shared from 1 Thessalonians 1:1–10.
“Paul had only been in Thessalonica four, maybe five weeks when he planted this church,” Henning said. “He started leading people to Christ, started the discipleship process.”
Paul wasn’t sure if the church had continued, but Timothy reports that not only had it continued, but it was growing.
“They’re strong; they’re aggressive,” Henning said. “They are carrying on the work of the Great Commission.”
Henning challenged participants to share the gospel once a week for three months, highlighting several evangelism strategies that might be used.
Wilks, author of the D-Life discipleship curriculum, shared five steps to building a disciple-making culture for church revitalization: pray it through, unite your leaders, develop a process, rethink the model or ministry and set some goals.
“The best way to experience revitalization in your church is to build a disciple-making culture,” he said.
Wilks pointed to the church referred to in Acts 6:7. It didn’t have buildings, budgets or technology, but the Word continued to increase and the number of disciples multiplied.
“They multiplied greatly because they had …disciple-making people,” Wilks said.
Blackwell said he has heard many bivocational pastors express frustration in the past few months.
“You are currently in the most difficult season of ministry that you have ever faced,” Blackwell said. “Some of you, frankly, are completely exhausted.”
Blackwell offered three pieces of advice from Paul, Jesus and Peter. Paul says, “Take a firm grip” (Phil. 3:12–14); Jesus says, “Take a freeing rest” (Matt. 11:28-30); and Peter says, “Take a focused resolve” (1 Pet. 5).
Care for people
“God’s entrusted to you to care for the people He died for,” he said. “We lay down our lives. I don’t know if there’s a higher privilege. I also don’t know if there’s a greater burden.”
The Fellowship’s officers for 2021 are: president, Tim Henning; vice president, Benjie Miller, pastor of Bynum Baptist Church, Eastaboga; and treasurer/secretary, Ken Wells, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church, Scottsboro.
The fellowship hosts a Facebook group at facebook.com/groups/bivoministries.
Videos of the morning and afternoon sessions are available at facebook.com/AlabamaBivocationalPastorsConference.
For more information, contact Tim Henning at 205-613-7235.