Madisonville—First Baptist Church of Madisonville and the churches of the Little Bethel Association entered into a partnership to send the pastors of their association, as well as neighboring churches, to “boot camp.”
The association’s churches are sponsoring a 12-month training effort, called Revitalization Pastor’s Bootcamp, aimed at equipping and encouraging pastors to lead churches into better days of ministry health and effectiveness.
The monthly training event, based loosely on the book of Nehemiah, addresses 12 topics relevant to church revitalization. Among the topics are discovering current reality, repentance and prayer in the life of the leader, receiving God’s vision, and dealing with conflict. Each session offers specific instruction by providing a speaker and resources related to the issue.
Cost for the 12-month event is being shared by First Baptist Church of Madisonville and the churches of Little Bethel Association. In an interview, Stephen Seaford, transitional interim pastor of Madisonville First, and Bill Egbert, director of missions for Little Bethel, explained why they wanted to partner together in equipping and encouraging pastors.
Stephen Seaford said that as a transitional interim he wants to see Madisonville take a lead in ministering to churches and pastors in the area. He recognizes that the church has a great facility and resources that could be a blessing to the larger church community. He also wants to strengthen the partnership between the church, the state convention and the association.
DOM Bill Egbert agreed that First Baptist is a great host church and that an effort for equipping church leaders is needed. Egbert reflected that half of the churches represented in the first training event were from the Little Bethel association.
What do they hoped to see happen as a result of the training effort?
Egbert would like for churches and pastors to recognize the need for revitalization and put an action plan in place to addresses the issues. The first step toward revitalization entails understanding current reality. After discovering how things are in one’s place of ministry, then steps can be taken to address issues that have emerged.
Seaford would like for participants to become aware of the need for revitalization, but also to be inspired by the realization that revitalization is possible. Seaford hopes to see relationships strengthened between pastors and the Kentucky Baptist Convention, and for pastors to realize that they are not alone.
Ministry can be a lonely occupation, Seaford observes, and he hopes participants will recognize that they are not in competition but in cooperation with each other and will encourage each other. Seaford has sought to help FBC realize that, “our mission is bigger than us and that we can reach beyond our local church and minister to pastors and churches.”
Egbert said the leaders involved thus far “have loved it.” Het has observed a desire to serve Jesus and see their churches revitalized. Church leaders have attended the training sessions with the right attitude looking for ways to better serve their congregations, Egbert noted. And, he feels the meetings have strengthened his relationship with pastors.
For Seaford, there has been a sense of satisfaction with First Baptist serving other churches. The congregation feels good about offering their facility, staff and resources to assist other area ministers. Seaford feels that the experience has been good for the staff, who are enjoying putting meals together and serving the pastors who gather for training. (WR)
Todd Gray, West Kentucky Region Consultant