ELKTON—At the urging and leadership of one family of pastors—a father, son, and cousin/nephew— about a dozen churches came together in an “old-fashioned” Bible conference each evening, Nov. 5-9, in Todd County.
The theme of the conference was the Holy Spirit and each speaker delivered a sermon on various topics related to the Holy Spirit, including the filling of the Spirit, the grieving of the Spirit, and the Spirit working in the church.
Speakers included Moses Radford of First Baptist Church of Nicholasville; Adam Greenway of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; James Shutt, an evangelist from Savannah, Tenn.; Steve Rutherford, pastor of New Salem Baptist Church; Ben Stratton, pastor of Farmington Baptist Church; Ron Noffsinger, pastor of New Harmony Baptist Church in Benton; Curtis McGhee, the Muhlenberg County sheriff; and Don Mathis, an evangelist from Bowling Green.
The conference averaged 115 every night, with their highest night seeing 140. This was their fourth annual conference. In addition, the organizers streamed the conference on social media and made CDs to pass out. Last year, they distributed a thousand CDs.
The conference was organized by Chris Skipworth, pastor of Sharon Grove Baptist Church; his father, Roger Skipworth, pastor of Shiloh Baptist; and their cousin/nephew, Rodney Skipworth, pastor of Belleview Baptist Church, the host church. Other sponsoring churches included Pleasant View Baptist and Epley Baptist.
Ben Stratton, historian for the J.H. Spencer Society, explained that the three men got together and decided to try this idea out. “It’s neat this family of preacher got their churches to come together to do this,” he said.
Stratton also explained that the conference was patterned after the Bible institutes that were popular 50-60 years ago. “Among associations and churches, these Bible conferences used to be pretty common. This was a way to kind of bring it back.”
Chris Skipworth said that the idea came about after hearing about how common these types of meetings were in the past at a meeting of the J.H. Spencer Historical Society. “The Bible institutes would have a topic set, and from that topic, they would request preachers to come and preach along those topics.” Following the same pattern, this conference does the same, but also focuses on Baptist beliefs.
“Biblical teaching on doctrine we believe as Baptists” was the overarching purpose, according to Chris Skipworth.
“Bellview is in Todd county, which is one of the more rural counties in the western end of the state,” Stratton explained. “It’s pretty awesome to have crowds that size for that area. The great thing about it is, you’ve got all these churches working together.” (WR)