The Alabama Baptist Pastors Conference 2014 kicked off this morning at Lakeside Baptist Church, Birmingham, with Charles Mauney leading worship with the praise band from Vaughn Forest Baptist Church, Montgomery. Buddy Champion, pastor of First Baptist Church Trussville, shared the first sermon on “The Pastor and His Character,” pulling from Proverbs 4. “If you don’t have character as a pastor, you don’t have anything,” Champion said. “Above all else, guard your heart so you can guard your character. How do I do that? I do that by guarding my mouth … every day. It’s a daily fight. (I do that by) delay. Be slow to speak. (We guard our hearts by) guarding our eyes and keeping our focus. Rest to help fight temptation and eyes of lust. … Carefully implement your actions. Take only ways that are firm, keep your foot from evil. Keep accountability and … whatever happens would you conduct your life that’s pleasing to the Lord?” Danny Wood, pastor of Shades Mountain Baptist Church, Birmingham, shared about “The Pastor and His Prayer Life.” Wood shared four foundational truths about prayer: God commands us to pray; there are things God will do in answer to prayer that He would not do otherwise; whatever God does He will be consistent with Himself; prayer is to be a first response and not a last resort.” He shared about the power of prayer stating that prayer releases Jesus to work, prayer demolishes spiritual strongholds, prayer acknowledges our dependence on God and prayer is effective when we are obedient. Willy Rice, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, Clearwater, Fla., closed out the morning session with a message on “The Pastor and Discouragement,” pulling from 1 Kings 19. As pastors, Rice said, “There is not one of us that came to this conference that is not carrying around some burden, some agony for someone who has sinned or strayed away. … Discouragement and depression are the constant enemy of the pastor.” Rice gave a few insights on how to overcome discouragement when you find yourself ready to quit. “Address the physical issues. It’s not spiritualizing this, the Scripture says to arise and get something to eat and drink. Then spend a protracted period of time with God. You won’t hear God’s voice until you get alone and quiet with Him. … Be encouraged because what you do for God matters.”
Stay tuned for the rest of Pastors Conference 2014, beginning at 1:20 p.m.