Southeastern highlights preaching programs at 2017 pastors’ conference

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) emphasized its preaching programs throughout the 2017 Pastors’ Conference in Phoenix, Arizona June 11-12.

Highlights from SEBTS included four students and alumni who preached at the conference, a booth featuring information about the school’s preaching programs and Keith and Kristyn Getty’s leading of the SEBTS hymn, “For the Cause.”

This year’s conference theme was “Above Every Name,” in which pastors drew upon the importance of gospel centrality in conversations and in demonstration as they preached through the book of Philippians. All speakers had the opportunity to preach from a replica of Charles Spurgeon’s pulpit throughout the conference.

Pastor John Onwuchekwa of Cornerstone Church in Atlanta, Georgia was the first of SEBTS students to speak Sunday night to those who attended the conference.

Onwuchekwa spoke on Philippians 1:12-28, focusing on how suffering can reveal where false hope is being found and how Christ can fulfill the need for lasting joy.

In drawing upon personal examples of hardship, Onwuchekwa spoke of a failed adoption, his brother’s death and issues within the church he was leading.

“The gospel loves to advance down the avenue of adversity,” he said, explaining that the gospel is magnified through hardship.

On Monday morning, J.D. Greear, pastor of the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, gave a short testimony, encouraging pastors of small churches that he was influenced greatly by his small church growing up.

“It is big faith, not big churches, that God uses to transform the world,” he said.

Jose Abella, pastor of Providence Road Baptist Church in Miami, Florida, spoke Monday afternoon on Philippians 3:1-11 on the importance of communicating the gospel clearly.

“We must get the gospel right. Gospel clarity protects us from heresy,” he said.

Abella also challenged pastors as he said, “If we’re not careful we can start assuming the gospel and stop pursuing the gospel.”

Johnny Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Georgia, encouraged pastors to model evangelism to the people within their congregations.

“I love the message of getting the gospel right, but there’s another message: We have to get the gospel out,” Hunt said.

In his sermon to pastors Hunt said, “At the end of the day, we (pastors) need to ask ourselves, ‘Have I made much of Jesus this week?’”

Southeastern offers multiple preaching degrees ranging from the undergraduate to doctoral level.

For more information about preaching programs at SEBTS, visit

For more information about the 2017 Pastors’ Conference, click

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