Florida Baptist pastors’ kingdom impact and influence often reach far beyond the borders of the Sunshine State.
Amid the famous Café Du Monde beignets, jazz music and an expected 15,000 Southern Baptists from throughout the nation, three Florida Baptist pastors will preach at the 2023 Pastors’ Conference at the Southern Baptist Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 11-12.
Daniel Dickard, senior pastor of Friendly Avenue Baptist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, and president of this year’s Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference, emphasized that the diverse group of selected speakers share a passion for the word of God and expositional preaching.
'While geographical locale was not a primary factor in our decision-making process, we are thrilled to have a wide swath of faithful Florida Baptist pastors speaking at this year’s conference.'
Dickard, alongside six other Southern Baptist pastors including Stephen Rummage (Oklahoma), Mac Brunson (Alabama), Quintell Hill (North Carolina), Chad Campbell (South Carolina), Matt Capps (North Carolina), and Gevan Spinney (Louisiana), selected 17 preachers and speakers who have an unwavering stance on the inerrancy of Scripture and a “rock-ribbed commitment to the authority and sufficiency of the Bible,” said Dickard.
“While geographical locale was not a primary factor in our decision-making process, we are thrilled to have a wide swath of faithful Florida Baptist pastors speaking at this year’s conference,” he said.
The three Florida Baptist pastors who were selected for their passion for the word of God and steadfast character in ministry are H.B. Charles, Herb Reavis and Ken Whitten.
H.B. Charles is the pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church with campuses in Jacksonville and Orange Park, where he has served since 2008. Charles is also a conference speaker and author of more than five books and various journals. He and his wife, Crystal, have three children: H.B. III, Natalie and Hailey.
Herb Reavis has served for 31 years as the senior pastor of North Jacksonville Baptist Church in Jacksonville. He is a graduate of the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago where he majored in evangelism. He and his wife, Lisa, have three adult sons and nine grandchildren.
Ken Whitten has been the senior pastor of Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz since 1989. While serving in ministry for 44 years, Whitten has served as the Florida Baptist Convention president, SBC Pastors’ Conference president, International Mission Board trustee, Fellowship of Christian Athletes board member, GuideStone board member, Great Commission Task Force member, and many other local and global Southern Baptist initiatives. Whitten has been married for 45 years and has four adult children and 13 grandchildren.
“If pastoral ministry is an intimate call unto a deep and abiding relationship with God, the basis of pastoral ministry begins and ends with God’s character lived in and through the life of a pastor,” said Dickard. “Ministry positions and service accolades do not define a pastor; a personal and intimate relationship with God does.”
“A pastor, then, must prioritize his spiritual character above ministerial competencies and charisma if he is to be all the Lord wants him to be and do all the Lord wants him to do,” he said. “Our Father cares more about who pastors are in Him than what pastors do for Him.”
Based on this biblical understanding, the theme of the two-day conference will highlight the necessity of character in pastoral ministry. Walking through the beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-12, eight men will preach on the theme Character Matters in Ministry: The Beatitudes of a Pastor.
Additionally, nine more speakers will provide pastoral talks on the subject Character Matters in Ministry, with each focusing on a different aspect of the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23.
Dickard said he hopes the conference will encourage pastors toward long-lasting ministry and spiritual health, stating that the speakers and preachers “will encourage and challenge attendees that character matters in ministry, as the life of Christ, as revealed in the Scriptures, is lived in and through the life of the pastor.
“My prayer is that pastors would be encouraged by the exposition of Scripture and that they would be refreshed, as other pastors pour into them through the preaching of the Bible.”
More information about the event and speakers can be found on the Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference website.