Illinois Baptist 07 04 2016 E Edition Page 2

he election for President of the Southern Baptist Conven- tion last month understandably attracted a lot of attention. But I was just as intrigued with the election for President of the annual SBC Pastors Conference that took place the day before. Dave Miller , pastor of a medium-sized church in Sioux City, Iowa, somewhat surprisingly prevailed with 55% of the vote. The Pastors Conference President has traditionally been a megachurch pastor, often from a southern or larger state. From my perspective, Pastor Miller ran not so much on his personal ministry resume as on a platform of ideas that proposed taking at least the 2017 Pastors Conference in a very new direction. Conference speakers would be only from SBC churches. No one who has spoken at the Pastors Conference in the past five years would speak at the 2017 meeting. Speakers would represent a diversity of geography, age, ethnicity, preaching style, and perspective. And there would be a focus on inviting pastors to speak who lead churches of 500 or fewer. Not many of these parameters describe the Pastors Conferences of recent years, and the new ideas clearly resonated with a majority of those voting. Pastor Miller was elected, and his response the next day in his SBC Voices blog reminded me a little of the old adage, Be careful what you wish for. He wrote, The budget of this two-day event is pretty much the annual bud- fet of my churchBut we are in this together and we are going to be looking to expand our circle. While I personally would have been flad for either candidate to lead next years Pastors Conference, I cant help but feel a sense of satisfaction in the ideas that it appears will now influ- ence next years program. I too have wondered why the same men some- times speak in consecutive years of the Pastors Conference, or why speak- ers arent always from SBC churches. Most of all, as a Midwestern South- ern Baptist, I celebrate the idea that there are gifted preachers in small to medium-sized churches, and in churches outside the Deep South, and in churches of diverse cultural settings. The Pastors Conference will benefit from some of these voices, as it has from the gifted communicators who lead many of our megachurches. After 10 years at IBSA, I still speak in or visit a church for the very first time at least once or twice a month. Many times someone in those churches will say something like, We didnt think you would come to a church our size, or We waited until our 100th anniversary to invite you because we know youre so busy. Im always humbled and a little embarrassed by those assumptions. So I want to say again that IBSA and I personally truly desire to serve and assist each and every local church we can, regardless of size, location, ethnicity, or age. Especially if Ive never been there, I would love to come to your church, to get to know your church family, and to listen to your pastor or give him a week off, whatever serves the church best. The average Southern Baptist church in Illinois had about 80 in wor- ship last year. Across the SBC, the average was around 110. It may be that larger churches tend to have more full-time pastors and more practiced and polished preachers. But the ones Ive been learning from all my life lead these wonderful, average churches. Im glad a pastor from western Iowa reminded us that pastors from these churches have a lot to offer. And Id love to come and worship in yours sometime soon. Nate Adams is executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association. Respond at IllinoisBaptist@IBSA.org. The wonderful, average church NATE ADAMS 2 IBSA.org Illinois Baptist Snapshots from the world of Illinois Baptists the cooperative program Giving by IBSA churches as of 06/28/16 $2,806,067 Budget Goal: $3,028,846 Received to date in 2015: $2,894,618 2016 Goal: $6.3 Million I'm glad we are reminded that these churches have a lot to offer. For questions about subscriptions, articles, or upcoming events, contact the Illinois Baptist at (217) 391-3119 or IllinoisBaptist@IBSA.org . The Illinois Baptist is seeking news from IBSA churches. E-mail us at IllinoisBaptist@IBSA.org to tell us about special events and new ministry staff. POSTMASTER: The Illinois Baptist is owned and published every three weeks by the Illinois Baptist State Association, 3085 Stevenson Drive, Springfield, Illinois 62703-4440. Subscriptions are free to Illinois Baptists. Subscribe online at IBSA.org . CONVENTIONAL WISDOM While few religious 'nones' say believing in God, reading the Bible, or resting on the Sabbath are essential to being a moral person, most agree that being honest at all times is essential to morality. - PewForum.org Christians: Faith essentials Culture: What 'nones' value Percent of religiously uniliated people who said these traits are essential to being a moral person: Percent of evangelical Christians who said these traits are essential to what being a Christian means to them: The Illinois Baptist staff Editor - Eric Reed Graphic Designer - Kris Kell Contributing Editor - Lisa Sergent Editorial Contributors - Meredith Flynn Morgan Jackson - Pew, April 2016 T 95% 79% 60% 42% 35% 21% Believing in God Praying regularly Reading Bible or other religious materials Attending religious services Helping in congregation Resting on Sabbath 58% 53% 47% 39% 35% 33% 25% Being honest at all times Being grateful for what you have Spending quality time with family Forgiving those who have wronged you Working to protect the environment Working to protect the poor and needy Not losing temper

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