SW Florida Conference brings people from across the nation

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IMMOKALEE–More than 250 pastors and church leaders from across the nation converged on southwest Florida for the third-annual Great Commission Weekend, Feb. 25-27.

The three-day preaching conference brought people together from across state lines but also within the southwest and central regions of Florida.

The purpose of the weekend was to equip believers on how to share the gospel and reach their neighbor and the nations for Christ, said Timothy Pigg, pastor of Fellowship Church in Immokalee and host of the weekend conference.

The weekend featured a full slate of speakers that encouraged pastors and laypeople, alike, and set the tone for revival, reengagement, and reaching those for Christ.

Utilizing the blueprint of the former Jacksonville Pastors’ Conference, the meeting kicked off Friday night with worship and back-to-back messages by Scott Colter, professor at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Cordova, Tennessee; and Mac Brunson, pastor at Valleydale Church in Birmingham, Alabama.

Brunson, former pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, delivered a message from 1 Peter 1:1-5 on the topic of eternal security. He encouraged those in attendance to have confidence in God’s provision, preservation, and protection. “Because of the crucifixion and the resurrection, you have eternal salvation. And if you have eternal salvation, you have eternal security,” he said.

Preaching from Mark 4:35-41, Hayes Wicker, retired pastor of First Baptist Church in Naples, walked through lessons learned from a storm-tossed life. He encouraged participants to remain anchored to the Word of God as the storms of life coming crashing down in a fallen world.

Closing the Saturday morning session was Stoney Benfield, pastor at Prospect Baptist Church in Albemarle, North Carolina, who spoke from Ephesians 3:14-21, on “the great exchange.” Benfield focused his time challenging attendees to seek revival, abide in Christ (John 15), and let God “dwell” and take up residence in their life.

“Our world and our churches don’t need rehabilitation, they need regeneration,” he said.

A new addition to this year’s conference was a five-person panel that included: David Allen, professor of preaching at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas; Mark Ballard, president of Northeastern Baptist College in Bennington, Vermont;  Lee Brand, dean at Mid-America who serves as first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention; Benfield and Wicker. A dozen questions came to floor on topics including roles within the family, church membership, the current Russia-Ukraine situation, discipleship, gospel-centered parenting, and problems within churches and culture.

“It’s been such a great weekend getting to be around and learn from great preachers,” said Klayton Carson, a seminary student traveling from Tennessee for the conference. “This weekend was awesome.”
On Sunday morning, Chad Campbell, pastor of Mount Pisgah Baptist Church in Easley, South Carolina,preached through John 13:1-15 on the serving Savior, highlighting the love of the humble servant, the labor of the humble servant, and the lesson of the humble servant.

Closing out the weekend were Allen, who spoke from Isaiah 6; Brand from 2 Kings 22:1-10; and Pigg from Titus 2:11-15. Referencing Isaiah 6:1, Allen asked, “when things become desperate, who do you see?”

The fourth-annual Great Commission Weekend will take place Feb. 24-26, 2023, at Fellowship Church (www.fellowshipchurch.co/gcw).

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