Pastors and leaders in Christian education and discipleship gathered March 16-17, 2018 at North Jacksonville Baptist Church for the Christian Education and Leadership Conference led by the Jacksonville Minister of Education Network and sponsored by the Jacksonville Baptist Association and the Florida Baptist Convention.

Under the theme “RE-FOCUS – Learning and Leading with a Kingdom Mindset,” conference leaders set out to equip and encourage ministry leaders to fulfill the Great Commission task of making disciples in their individual ministry areas.

“This conference is designed to equip pastors, ministers of education, Sunday School Directors and teachers, small group facilitators or any leader tasked with the responsibility of discipleship development in the local church,” said Eugene McCormick, minister of education at Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville and conference leader.

Rick Wheeler, lead missional strategist for the Jacksonville Baptist Association, said the event really highlighted the partnerships between local churches, the local association and the state Convention.

“The Westside Baptist Church worship team greatly inspired participants with excellent worship,” Wheeler said, describing the event. “Pastor H.B. Charles led us to the throne in his message and the North Jacksonville Baptist folks were superb hosts.”

Conference speakers included:

  • H.B. Charles, Jr., pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church, Jacksonville
  • Shelly Taylor, director of preschool and children’s ministries at First Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas
  • Carol Dasher, Shiloh Kids ministry director, Shiloh Church, Orange Park, Florida
  • Billy Young, Next Generation Ministries lead catalyst, Florida Baptist Convention
  • Terry Brown, retired pastor of adult ministries, North Dallas Community Bible Fellowship Church, Plano, Texas
  • Evelyn Chisolm, Bible Study Fellowship teacher at Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Florida
  • Dennis Mitchell, executive director of the National African American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention
  • Rick Wheeler, lead missional strategist, Jacksonville Baptist Association
  • Tony Hoffman, pastor of discipleship and legacy ministry, First Baptist Church, Leesburg, Florida
  • Bruce Raley, executive pastor of First Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee
  • Alan Wise, marketing and media director, Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Florida
  • Patrick Coats, Black and Multicultural church catalyst, Florida Baptist Convention
  • Allan Taylor, director of Sunday School and church education ministry, LifeWay Christian Resources

“Although God’s mandate to us to fulfill the Great Commission is no easy task, my prayer is that you will leave this conference with the tools, training, and techniques that will increase your spiritual effectiveness as you allow God to use you to develop disciples in your sphere of Kingdom influence,” McCormick wrote in a greeting to conference attendees.

The conference certainly seemed to exceed expectations. Anonymous evaluations left by attendees indicated that the information the speakers shared was much needed and more is wanted.

“Classes were so relevant and practical. Thank God for this great learning opportunity,” read one and “My first one and can’t wait for the next one,” read another.

Other evaluators said:

  • “Truly received information and encouragement for the tasks ahead.”
  • “Very informative and professionally done! Leaders were well versed on their topics – learned a lot!”
  • “My first one and can’t wait for the next one!”

“I am deeply grateful to the Jax Minister of Education Network team for planning and coordinating this top shelf leadership development experience,” Wheeler said of the experience.

For more information on the Jacksonville Minister of Education Network or to find out how to join, visit www.engagejax.com/equip or email McCormick at dr.eugenemccormick@gmail.com

By Nicole Kalil, Florida Baptist Convention, March 21, 2018