SBC PC: A Video Interview with Bart Barber

This year’s SBC Pastor’s Conference is June 11-12 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The conference will feature 12 preachers who all come from average-size SBC churches.  They will be preaching through the book of Philippians over the course of the two day conference.

As you know, the speakers for the conference recently met at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for a colloquium.  The speakers gathered to get to know one another and study Philippians with Dr. David Allen and other preaching faculty members from SWBTS and NOBTS.

I had the privilege of attending the colloquium, and one of the things I did while there was interview the speakers for the Pastor’s Conference.

Bart Barber is the Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Farmersville, TX.  FBC Farmersville is a vibrant, average-size congregation just northeast of Dallas.  Bart is an excellent preacher, and no stranger to SBC Voices.  We look forward to hearing from him in June.

Watch this video interview and pray for Bart as he prepares to proclaim God’s Word to us in June.

 

Bart Barber PC Interview from SBCPC on Vimeo.

Keep checking SBC Voices over the next several months as we will be posting more content related to the conference.

SBC PC: John Bailey Answers Some Questions About Spencer Plumlee

Editor’s Note: Each of the speakers for this year’s SBC Pastor’s Conference in Phoenix, AZ was nominated by someone.  I have asked each speaker’s nominator to answer a few questions about the person they nominated.  Spencer Plumlee of Riverview Baptist Church in Osage Beach, MO was nominated by John Bailey.  Below is John’s responses to the questions I sent him.

How do you know Spencer?

I can remember a couple of years ago driving through the tiny towns near the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. My wife and I were looking for Riverview Baptist Church in Osage Beach. We were cautious but hopeful that this small church could be our new church home.

You see, we had just been called to a new ministry in the area. We left close friends and a sweet church family. Transitions are never easy. One of the biggest hurdles in moving to a new community is finding a church home. My usual prayer is this – please Lord help us find a church where I can be a friend to the Pastor. From the minute we heard Pastor Spencer I knew God had called us to this church. My wife and I have been members at Riverview for 2 years now.

Pastor Spencer and I share a lot in common. We both graduated from Southwestern Seminary and we both call Memphis, TN as our home town. I feel like I have known Pastor Spencer for my whole life.

Why did you nominate him?

I have been in SBC life for all of my ministry years. I had the opportunity to travel and hear communicators all over the country.  So I know good preaching when I hear it.

It is a huge challenge to stand every week and communicate God’s truth.  I never take it for granted. Some people think it is a simple thing to preach. Pastors have been doing it for centuries. From earliest civilizations people give speeches, the Greeks called it rhetoric. Their frame work was simple – know yourself, know your audience, know your content and use a breath mint. (Ethos, Pathos, Logos and Mentos) One of my first Pastors once told me, the preacher has four simple rules – stand up, speak up, shut up and sit down. Over the years I have come to a certain conviction about good preaching.

A gifted preacher must have two vital skills – the courage to share God’s truth boldly and the capacity to love God’s people authentically.

Pastor Spencer possess these skills in abundance. This is why I felt led to nominate him. Pastor Spencer preaches God’s truth and refuses to make accommodations to culture. God’s truth is his passion. Pastor Spencer takes the time to prepare and digest God’s word. When he preaches God’s word it comes from hard work and insightful observations from God. Not only does he bring God’s word boldly he also loves God’s people authentically. Our little church is blessed with multi generations and ethnicities. I can sense how much my Pastor loves his church.  He preaches with his heart. He engages people out of love. In the two years I have been at Riverview, I have not heard a bad sermon. Pastor Spencer is a treasure.

Why will he serve well in Phoenix?

The George Barna Group recently reported in a 2017 research project that only one in seven pastors leading congregations is below the age of 40. In recent years, one of our favorite past times is spent checking out preachers by counting the number of petals on the tulip they hold. I know many SBC pastors who express concern about what does the future hold for the SBC. Well I am excited to know that many of these faithful hard working SBC leaders will be encouraged. Pastor Spencer is under 40 and he loves the Southern Baptist Convention. Everyone who hears him preach in Phoenix will walk away saying, Dr. Plumblee knows how to handle God’s word. Our convention will be in good hands with young pastors like him.

Ways the ERLC Controversy Could Show Up in Phoenix

Unless Russell Moore resigns from his post between now and summer, the controversy surrounding the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission will most certainly show up at the convention in Phoenix this June.  While there are some who will never be satisfied, I am hopeful that Dr. Moore and those who have been offended can sit down in the same room together and agree to walk together as brothers even if they do not reach a place of agreement on the issues that have caused the current rift.  It is my hope that Russell Moore stays in his position, Prestonwood decides to restore funding, and we can put this whole thing behind us.  But until then, we’re going to keep discussing it ad-nauseum.  It’s what we do.

So what are some ways this might show up at the annual meeting?  I’m listing five of them from most-likely to occur to least likely to occur.

  1. A messenger makes a motion that Russell Moore be fired from his job as President of the ERLC.

I judge this to be very likely.  While I still think they are a smallish loud minority, there are people within our convention who want Russell Moore gone.  One of them will step to the microphone in Phoenix thinking that he will get Dr. Moore fired once and for all.  Of course he won’t really accomplish anything.  We have a system whereby we elect trustees to govern our entities.  Messengers cannot direct an entity to do anything, and they certainly cannot order the firing of an entity head.  That’s why the Conservative Resurgence took so long.

But none of that will keep Pastor Billy Bob from trying.  After his motion is ruled out of order, he’ll get mad and complain that the big dogs never listen to the little people.  “We don’t have a voice!” some will say.  But nothing will change.  There’s a way to get an entity head fired, but it takes time.  It’s hard.  And it should be.

  1. A messenger will question Dr. Moore about either the amicus brief or his opposition to President Trump during the Q & A time after the ERLC report.

While I also think this is likely to happen, I am placing it second on my list only because of the tongue lashing received by the last messenger who attempted this.  No one likes to look like a fool on the floor of the convention.  Well, maybe there are a few.  No, I’m not mentioning names!

It’s relatively easy to get to a microphone during this time.  It’s an opportunity for messengers to have their concerns heard by the entity head and the rest of the convention regardless of whether or not the concern being raised has any validity.

If this happens, look for an answer from Dr. Moore that is equally articulate to the one he gave in St. Louis, but is a kinder, gentler response.  That’s been the issue for some people.  Dr. Moore’s tone has seemed abrasive and condescending at times.

  1. The ERLC trustee chairman will make a statement in support of Russell Moore.

We saw this in Baltimore with Southwestern and the situation where Paige Patterson admitted a Muslim to the seminary’s Ph.D. program.  Patterson offered an apology, and the trustee chairman spoke in support of Patterson.  Perhaps we could see something similar with Russell Moore in Phoenix.  Perhaps Dr. Moore will apologize for the way he spoke at times during the presidential campaign and for the offense it caused.  Then perhaps the trustee chair, who is a member of Capitol Hill Baptist, will make a statement in support of Moore on behalf of the entire board.  I judge this to be somewhat likely.

  1. We will discuss and vote on a resolution in support of Religious Liberty.

It would probably be wise for the Resolutions Committee to leave this one alone this year.  Southern Baptists have already spoken clearly on the subject of religious liberty in previous resolutions.  There is no ambiguity regarding where we have stood in the past.

Any discussion concerning a religious liberty resolution this year in Phoenix would not be about the merits of the resolution itself.  The discussion would inevitably be colored by the events that have taken place over the last year with the ERLC.  The resolutions time is not the best time to attempt to solve this issue.

  1. Steve Gaines will be challenged for the presidency of the SBC.

I don’t see this one happening.  Nor do I have any reason to think that it should happen.  SBC presidents are only elected for a one year term.  But typically, their re-election for a second term is a mere formality.  Without this brouhaha, I can’t imagine any scenario in which someone might challenge Gaines for the presidency this June.

I am hopeful that Steve Gaines will rise to the occasion here and lead our convention forward.  On Twitter the other day he hinted that he would be doing this, but that it would not be done in public.  Maybe Steve Gaines can get Jack Graham and Russell Moore sitting together in the same room.  Maybe he can play the role of mediator in all of this and lead our convention in unity.  I expect that he will give it his best shot.

But if for some reason he decides to take sides publicly, you can bet it will almost assure us of another presidential showdown this summer.

While these kinds of situations can frustrate us at times, perhaps it has turned what might have otherwise been a pretty uneventful SBC into a must-attend event.  I’m looking forward to Phoenix, but none of the above possible scenarios come anywhere close to my top 5 reasons for being excited.

Ways the ERLC Controversy Could Show Up in Phoenix

Unless Russell Moore resigns from his post between now and summer, the controversy surrounding the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission will most certainly show up at the convention in Phoenix this June.  While there are some who will never be satisfied, I am hopeful that Dr. Moore and those who have been offended can sit down in the same room together and agree to walk together as brothers even if they do not reach a place of agreement on the issues that have caused the current rift.  It is my hope that Russell Moore stays in his position, Prestonwood decides to restore funding, and we can put this whole thing behind us.  But until then, we’re going to keep discussing it ad-nauseum.  It’s what we do.

So what are some ways this might show up at the annual meeting?  I’m listing five of them from most-likely to occur to least likely to occur.

  1. A messenger makes a motion that Russell Moore be fired from his job as President of the ERLC.

I judge this to be very likely.  While I still think they are a smallish loud minority, there are people within our convention who want Russell Moore gone.  One of them will step to the microphone in Phoenix thinking that he will get Dr. Moore fired once and for all.  Of course he won’t really accomplish anything.  We have a system whereby we elect trustees to govern our entities.  Messengers cannot direct an entity to do anything, and they certainly cannot order the firing of an entity head.  That’s why the Conservative Resurgence took so long.

But none of that will keep Pastor Billy Bob from trying.  After his motion is ruled out of order, he’ll get mad and complain that the big dogs never listen to the little people.  “We don’t have a voice!” some will say.  But nothing will change.  There’s a way to get an entity head fired, but it takes time.  It’s hard.  And it should be.

  1. A messenger will question Dr. Moore about either the amicus brief or his opposition to President Trump during the Q & A time after the ERLC report.

While I also think this is likely to happen, I am placing it second on my list only because of the tongue lashing received by the last messenger who attempted this.  No one likes to look like a fool on the floor of the convention.  Well, maybe there are a few.  No, I’m not mentioning names!

It’s relatively easy to get to a microphone during this time.  It’s an opportunity for messengers to have their concerns heard by the entity head and the rest of the convention regardless of whether or not the concern being raised has any validity.

If this happens, look for an answer from Dr. Moore that is equally articulate to the one he gave in St. Louis, but is a kinder, gentler response.  That’s been the issue for some people.  Dr. Moore’s tone has seemed abrasive and condescending at times.

  1. The ERLC trustee chairman will make a statement in support of Russell Moore.

We saw this in Baltimore with Southwestern and the situation where Paige Patterson admitted a Muslim to the seminary’s Ph.D. program.  Patterson offered an apology, and the trustee chairman spoke in support of Patterson.  Perhaps we could see something similar with Russell Moore in Phoenix.  Perhaps Dr. Moore will apologize for the way he spoke at times during the presidential campaign and for the offense it caused.  Then perhaps the trustee chair, who is a member of Capitol Hill Baptist, will make a statement in support of Moore on behalf of the entire board.  I judge this to be somewhat likely.

  1. We will discuss and vote on a resolution in support of Religious Liberty.

It would probably be wise for the Resolutions Committee to leave this one alone this year.  Southern Baptists have already spoken clearly on the subject of religious liberty in previous resolutions.  There is no ambiguity regarding where we have stood in the past.

Any discussion concerning a religious liberty resolution this year in Phoenix would not be about the merits of the resolution itself.  The discussion would inevitably be colored by the events that have taken place over the last year with the ERLC.  The resolutions time is not the best time to attempt to solve this issue.

  1. Steve Gaines will be challenged for the presidency of the SBC.

I don’t see this one happening.  Nor do I have any reason to think that it should happen.  SBC presidents are only elected for a one year term.  But typically, their re-election for a second term is a mere formality.  Without this brouhaha, I can’t imagine any scenario in which someone might challenge Gaines for the presidency this June.

I am hopeful that Steve Gaines will rise to the occasion here and lead our convention forward.  On Twitter the other day he hinted that he would be doing this, but that it would not be done in public.  Maybe Steve Gaines can get Jack Graham and Russell Moore sitting together in the same room.  Maybe he can play the role of mediator in all of this and lead our convention in unity.  I expect that he will give it his best shot.

But if for some reason he decides to take sides publicly, you can bet it will almost assure us of another presidential showdown this summer.

While these kinds of situations can frustrate us at times, perhaps it has turned what might have otherwise been a pretty uneventful SBC into a must-attend event.  I’m looking forward to Phoenix, but none of the above possible scenarios come anywhere close to my top 5 reasons for being excited.