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Pastor's Conference focuses on Advancing God's Kingdom Agenda

JACKSON, Tenn.Dec. 9, 2003 – More than 1,000 pastors and laymen gathered Nov. 10 for the Tennessee Baptist Pastor's Conference where they were challenged to focus on Advancing God's Kingdom Agenda. The theme is reflective of Empowering Kingdom Growth, an initiative of the Southern Baptist Convention and prominently featured Union University's president and minister.

President David S. Dockery and Todd Brady, minister to the university, delivered the first two messages during the conference held at West Jackson Baptist Church.

Other conference speakers included Voddie Baucham, a Texas-based evangelist who lauded the university during his message; Randy Davis, pastor of First Baptist Church, Sevierville, Tenn.; Gary Frost, vice president for strategic partnerships at the North American Mission Board; Jeff LaBorg, pastor of Sharon Baptist Church, Savannah, Tenn.; and James Merritt, pastor, Cross Pointe Church, Duluth, Ga.

Danny Sinquefield, pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Bartlett, Tenn. and president of the conference, hosted the event.

Following is a summary of Dockery's and Brady's messages:


DAVID S. DOCKERY

Dockery kicked off the pastor's conference with a message from Matthew 24, "The Gospel of the Kingdom." Dockery noted three observations about the kingdom.

"First, this Gospel of the Kingdom remains the church's gospel to proclaim, to protect, to exemplify, to share, to tell, and to declare, but we must recognize that the Church did not produce this gospel -- for this gospel has its source in God."

"Second," Dockery continued, "This Gospel is focused on Jesus Christ -- and in the context of Matthew's Gospel the message is not merely the story of Jesus as some historical figure, but the focus is on Jesus as the Christ, the fulfillment of the prophetic promises and covenants with David and Abraham."

Dockery reminded the pastors that the message is not about Jesus as a noble teacher, but rather, Jesus the son of the living God.

"It is not about Jesus the object of doubt, cynicism and skepticism as seen on ABC's heretical special about Jesus' relationship with Mary Magdalene," he noted.

Quoting Visser t'Hooft, the first general secretary of the World Council of Churches, Dockery said that the greatest peril facing the church is syncretism.

"It is a far more dangerous challenge to the Christian church than atheism is every likely to be and today his words still ring true," Dockery said. "For today to claim that there is one God who is exclusively revealed in Jesus Christ is anything but politically correct, anything but well received."

Finally, Dockery said the gospel is to be preached to the whole world as a testimony to all the nations.

"As Tennessee Baptists let us say together that we will renew our commitments to be unapologetic about proclaiming the good news of the Gospel of the Kingdom," Dockery said. "And this Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come -- even so, come Lord Jesus."


TODD BRADY

Brady addressed the kingdom agenda of God.

"God does indeed have an agenda and there is nothing hidden about it," Brady said. "In fact, the kingdom agenda of God is clear and compelling throughout the pages of Scripture. From the opening pages of the book of Genesis to the final pages of Revelation, you see that god has an agenda and that he is accomplishing -- he is about one thing. That one thing is bringing people to himself."

Brady told the pastors that God's agenda is a kingdom agenda. "It's often difficult to realize how great and global God's agenda is when you live in such a selfish and individualistic society like ours," he said. "It is all about our personal desires. It wasnt until I was out of college that I realized that Jesus was not just my personal savior, but that he is the savior of His Kingdom."

"When you live your life as a part of God's kingdom agenda and when you realize that it's not ultimately about you, but that it's about God, you think about God's kingdom in a more God-centered, God-focused, God-motivated, God permeated, God-honoring way," Brady said.


Media contact: Todd Starnes, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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