“Intentional planning makes for purposeful preaching,” Scott Gibson, David E. Garland chair of preaching at George W. Truett Theological Seminary, told attendees during the Art of Preaching Lab held at the Texas Baptists offices in Dallas on August 31. The lab was one of three held across Texas, with the other two sessions held in Houston and San Antonio. Collectively, the labs drew 162 attendees, including lead pastors, youth ministers and other church leaders.
David Miranda, director of Ministers Development and Missional Network, and a team of volunteers coordinated the preaching labs, which were hosted by The Pastor’s Common. The Pastor’s Common is a Texas Baptists ministry dedicated to providing opportunities for emerging ministry leaders to be heard, resourced and find community.
Miranda explained that the labs were held to create a space for ministry leaders to continue honing their skills and growing in the roles the Lord called them to serve in.
“Preaching is an art. It’s a calling but also a practice we work on developing. And we get better by being intentional about what we prepare to deliver,” he said.
During the labs, attendees learned how to enhance their preaching abilities and deliver impactful sermons from four speakers. During Gibson’s session, entitled “Planning,” he encouraged attendees to think of discipleship through a wider lens. He reminded them that the message during worship is the time that the most people in the church hear from Scripture.
“Think in broader terms for discipleship, not just a one-on-one view,” he said. “What does it mean to disciple people through our preaching?”
He reminded pastors to plan their sermons around themes that their church needs to hear, keeping in mind the unique needs of the congregation. Gibson encouraged pastors to not fill the calendar with sermons that simply reflect the time of the year, such as summer or Labor Day, but that have an intentional message tailored to the church’s needs.
“Are these events that influence our calendar for preaching what our listeners need in order for them to become the people that God wants them to become?” he asked.
Todd Still, dean of George W. Truett Theological Seminary, echoed the importance of preaching for each church’s unique congregation during his session entitled “Preaching Through Romans.”
“It does no good to simply speak if no one’s listening, so find ways to connect with the people that God has entrusted to you,” he said.
In addition to Gibson and Still, attendees to the Dallas preaching lab heard from Yancey Arrington, teaching pastor at Clear Creek Community Church in Houston, and Andrew Hébert, lead pastor of Mobberly Baptist Church in Longview.
Speakers at other preaching labs included: Steve Bezner, senior pastor at Houston Northwest Church in Houston; Taylor Sandlin, senior pastor at Sugar Land Baptist Church in San Angelo; Matthew Kim, professor of Practical Theology at Truett Seminary in Waco; Robert Creech, professor of Christian Ministries and director of Pastoral Ministries at Truett Seminary in Waco; Kevin Flowers, pastor of Alamo Community Church in San Antonio; Chris Johnson, senior pastor of First Baptist Church San Antonio in San Antonio; and Matt Homeyer, senior pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio.
The Pastor’s Common also hosted an Apprentice Retreat on Sept. 11-12 at First Baptist Richardson in which seventy-two millennial pastors gathered to be equipped by seasoned church leaders. Miranda explained that the number 72 was intentional as it mirrored the number of disciples Jesus sent out in Luke 10.
"There is a myth that pastors aren't being called anymore. God has called and continues to call shepherds to tend his sheep in every generation,” Miranda said.
“The Pastor's Common aims to connect and strengthen pastors in this generation.”
During the retreat, pastors heard from 12 speakers in large groups and broke into smaller groups for times of discussion and fellowship. Each small group was led by a speaker, giving attendees time to ask them individualized questions about ministry.
The labs and the retreat are all a part of The Pastor’s Common’s goal to equip and encourage pastors and help them feel more connected to other ministers across Texas.
“The goal is to strengthen the church,” Miranda said. “Pastoring is not easy, and it’s even more difficult when it’s done alone. So, we want to improve the pastoral experience through connectivity and resourcing and providing a friend to them.”
During the preaching labs, Miranda emphasized this mission, reminding the ministry leaders in attendance that their ministry is making an impact in their communities.
“Your ministry matters. A lot of times, it feels like you don’t realize the effect you're having,” he said. “I want you to look around the room and see that you’re not alone in your ministry. We’re here to encourage you and to be that friend for you in that time of need.”
Texas Baptists is a movement of God’s people to share Christ and show love by strengthening churches and ministers, engaging culture and connecting the nations to Jesus.
The ministry of the convention is made possible by giving through the Texas Baptists Cooperative Program, Mary Hill Davis Offering® for Texas Missions, Texas Baptists Worldwide and Texas Baptist Missions Foundation. Thank you for your faithful and generous support.
Subscribe to receive stories like this one directly to your inbox.
We are more together.