Bivocational, small-church pastors challenged to 'go for the gold'

BELTON—Ministers should “go for the gold,” not settle for peanuts, Paul Powell told the annual conference for Texas Baptist bivocational and small-membership-church ministers and their families.

Powell, dean emeritus of Baylor University’s Truett Theological Seminary, spoke at the conference July 8-10 at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. He recalled a newspaper article from 1981 detailing a West Texas gold discovery—the “richest gold strike in America” at the time. Previously, the owner of the property had used the land to grow peanuts.

“It occurred to me that there are a lot of churches like that farmer,” Powell noted. “God has given to them and to us a golden opportunity, and in the midst of that golden opportunity, we are raising peanuts. We’re doing precious little considering the possibility of those fields.”

Powell encouraged conference participants to use the opportunities God has given them and work hard for his kingdom through evangelism, discipleship and missions. The fields are ripe with harvest, but the laborers are few.

“As a pastor, your mission—your goal—ought to be to get the maximum yield out of your field,” he said. “We never should be satisfied to raise peanuts. We need to go for the gold.”

To achieve that, Powell said, ministers must be committed to growth, open to change and willing to work hard. Without zeal to see non-Christians converted and willingness to put forth essential effort, the golden opportunity is lost.

“Let me remind you that there’s not only gold out there in that field, there is gold in you, … and you need to put it to use in the kingdom of God,” he said.

The conference featured plenary sessions—including four in Spanish—on topics ranging from biblical interpretation to issues pastors face. Funds from the Mary Hill Davis Offering for Texas Missions helped sponsor the conference and a related student event held concurrently for ministers’ children.

The conference included a banquet celebrating 25 years for the Texas Baptist Bivocational and Smaller Membership Ministers and Spouses Association, an organization connecting more than 3,615 small-membership churches across the state.

Lisa Moser, a student at Truett Theological Seminary, received a $1,000 scholarship from the association to further her education in ministry.

In business, the conference elected its officers: president, Richard Ray, pastor of First Baptist Church in Wink; vice president, David Keith, pastor of Carlton Baptist Church in Carlton; second vice president, Charles Lavine, pastor of Terrace Acres Baptist Church in White Settlement; secretary, Rosalind Ray of Fairy Baptist Church in Fairy; and treasurer, Danny Rogers, pastor of Lebanon Baptist Church in Cleburne.


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