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Pastors of Smaller Congregations Leadership Summit

Download a copy of this video from the IFR Vimeo page.

Download a copy of this video from the IFR Vimeo page.

The Pastors of Smaller Congregations Leadership Summit was held Thursday, May 16, 2013 at the SBC of Virginia Office in, Glen Allen.

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On Thursday, May 16, 2013, a Leadership Summit for Pastors of Smaller Congregations was held at the SBC of Virginia Office in Glen Allen.  The four hour event consisted of a panel discussion from pastors from across the state who have served churches in similar circumstances.  Rev. Joey Anthony shared from his positive tenure as pastor in a rural setting at Midway Baptist Church, Phenix.  Rev. Gordon Ellsworth offered ministry tips from a Church Planting perspective serving a 10 year old Virginia Beach Beacon Baptist Church.  Rev. Rusty Small, Pastor of Liberty Baptist Church, Appomattox offered encouragement from serving a small town historical church experiencing revitalization.  Rev. Wendell Horton, pastor of Skyview Missionary Baptist Church, Fancy Gap stressed the need to focus on the mission and the value of investment as mentors. 


Each of the panelists responded to questions like: 

  • Did you ever experience weeks and years when your church was stagnant or in decline? 
  • What was your strategy during those times?
  • Was there a pivotal time when you recognized the church was turning around? 
  • Was there an event involved? 
  • What would you say are three reasons your church has experienced growth? 
  • Can you share your infrastructure for ministry? 
  • Elders, Deacons, Ministry Teams, Committees, etc… 
  • What can you do to help move the church from being inward focused to being outward focused?

During the fellowship lunch, the 80 plus pastors, planters and staff were introduced to a new training resource produced by the SBC of Virginia.  Plant is a valuable tool to equip Church Planting teams as they are starting from scratch.  It is written by our very own Church Planters - practitioners for practitioners.  Interestingly enough, many of the existing church pastors found the resource to be filled with practical application for their context.

After lunch, Dr. David Wheeler, Professor of Evangelism and Director of Center for Ministry Training at Liberty University was the keynote speaker.  Dr.Wheeler’s passion for sharing the Gospel and compassion for the “whosoever” was infectious.   He challenged the pastors to do the work of an evangelist and gave them a copy of the latest book he co-wrote with Dr. Dave Early entitled Evangelism Is … How to Share Jesus with Passion and Confidence.

From the exit interviews, this first Leadership Summit was a tremendous encouragement and blessing to the affinity group we called “Pastors of Smaller Congregations”.  Real statistics from Southern Baptist experts show that an overwhelming majority of ministry is conducted in smaller community churches.  Those gathering on this day might be leading congregations with smaller numbers of members and or attendees, but they came to realize that small churches have great impact for the Kingdom.