Jax Pastor’s Conference 2011 – “in closing.”

  I rarely like the assumption that all pastors are discouraged and need to be propped up by those who have the appearances of greater successes.  I will admit that my first impression of the theme of the conference was less than an “oh boy.”  Even among the “vintage” years of my attendance, and the highest times of my spirit I have always disliked the underlying tones that come from “big preachers” reminding “small preachers” that we’re all the same “preachers.”  I have always thought, “we know that” but apparently they don’t.  Sometimes it’s not the little known preachers that need to know there’s no difference in small church pastors, and large church pastors.  Sometimes it’s the other way around.  If I had one “tone” about this conference that I’ve never liked that’s it. 

However, it was a pleasant surprise to me that even with the theme of Endurance, I did not sense this tone this year to the same degree that I have in years past.  It did have moments that I still heard it, but I have become oversensitized to it and may have heard signals no one was really sending.

I must give credit where credit is due.  I stand in stark opposition to Al Mohler on the issues of Calvinism.  I will say from this day until the last day that the teaching of Limited Atonement, is an inright, outright, upright, downright Heresy with a capital H.  And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:2.  Now that being said, Mohler hit a home run.  My heart was touched and my spirit was saying amen, as he addressed the issues of God’s people having a lack of knowledge in our day and age.  His call for a revival of Biblical knowledge among our people is past due, and under emphasized.  His message Sunday night was the best that I personally have heard him preach.

I had never heard Jim Shaddix preach prior to this conference.  I am glad that I did.  To finally put a pastor on stage who is honest about the less than explosive growth in his church was suprisingly and wonderfully refreshing.  The Lord is blessing our church, people are getting saved, numerically we are increasing, spiritually we are growing,but the roof is still on, and the doors haven’t come loose yet.  Our people have the same desire for growth (deep and wide) as any other church that the Lord has, but the results have not been as earth shattering as we would like.  For Shaddix to preach from the standpoint of someone whose church is not booming, and being honest about it, and approaching it from a scriptural point of view, refreshed my mind and recharged my stamina, and for that I am grateful.

As always Paige Patterson and David Allen, two of my favorites, were surgical with the texts, and dynamite in their message.

James Merritt deserves the “Kiss My Grits” award!  Addressing the issue of anonymous “writing”, and “people writing about their pastor” in the face of Mac’s friends and enemies, took more grits than Granny Clampett could conjure up.  I was, to say the least, impressed with his brazenness, as he rather boldly took up the issue and looked the camera in the the eye and the crowd in the face.  What he said was true to the Word of God, and he would not back up one inch.

My heart hurts for the people of FBCJax.  The crowd being significantly smaller than years past, and the children’s choirs 1/2 of what they used to be, cannot be easy for those precious people.  I did not see Jim Smyrl, Fran Hawk, or the gentleman with the “rock crosses,” and I looked.  I may just have missed them.  I did see Robert Jones, Andy Anderson, Al Broyles, and some of the other ushers that we have grown accustomed to shaking hands with when we enter.

The choir and orchestra is still out of this world, and worth every accolade that comes their way. 

What other course people and pastors may choose, I know not, but as for me and Pinecrest, we will serve the Lord, and I will pray for those people.  Doing so would definitely be a change worth making.

8 comments on “Jax Pastor’s Conference 2011 – “in closing.”

  1. Tom R says:

    Yes, I heard Merrit really let pastors’ critics have it. I figured someone would be designated at the conference to deliver that message.

    • Tom,

      If I remember right, Merrits message was not aimed at “critiquing” the pastor as much as it was levying anonymous charges at the pastor.

      He did warn against causing “unintended, and undeserved damage” (my words) when writing about another man behind the veil of no accountability.

      I may be remembering wrong, but as I do remember it that was his emphasis.

  2. Trey says:

    I wanted to say thanks for coming and writing about our conference. Just so you know, the usher who made the rock crosses past away this year, Mrs. Fran was in a car accident about 2 months before the car accident and is still recovering so she could not be at the conference, and Dr. Smyrl spent the majority of the conference walking around meeting pastors, praying with pastors, and trying to counsel pastors. Hope to see you next year!

    • Trey,

      I’m sorry to hear about the brother with the rock crosses. I know the church misses him. Mrs. Fran has my prayers, and I hope she is able to recover soon. I guess I just missed Dr. Smyrl.

      Thanks for the info, I was wondering. I’ve always enjoyed interacting with the members of the church.

      Lord willing, my wife and I do plan on attending again next year. The preaching was great, and the choir and orchestra were wonderful as always. Thanks again for having it.

      • Sandles says:

        I stumbled upon your site today and I have been reading through several entries. I want to say “Thank You” for standing behind what you believe and doing so with firmness yet with gentleness. It is sad that church numbers are going down but we must “press on” for Christ. There does seem to be quite a few “cotton candy” groups out there and people will always be drawn to sugar, but once the “sugar high” wears off many of them are off to another group looking for that high again. I have run the gamete of churches, not for that same reason, but I have seen what you are saying. I have seen the pros and cons of both mega and small churches. One thing that they both have in common is parishioners forgetting that the pastor and his family are sinners as well. The pastor is called by God to lead the congregation and thus has an incredible responsibility, but we must never forget that they are human as well. It really bothers me when people get angry with a pastor for pointing out the truth. I pray that God will continue to guide you and give you strength as you proclaim His Word.

      • Sandles,

        Thank you for your kind words, and your encouragement. While it is true that some people have a “sour soul” toward pastors in general, by God’s grace there are a great many encouragers as well, and I thank you for yours; it has added “life to my batteries”.

        God bless. Bro. Jeff

  3. Sandles says:

    A friend shared this blog and I immediately thought about the “cotton candy” churches.

    • Sandles,
      Thanks for the link and the “cotton candy” reference. To borrow from a Country singer, “I was Christian, when Christian was uncool” and I guess I still am, Christian and according to my kids, uncool. God Bless

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