Timothy Barnabas Conference encourages students in ministry leadership

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Understanding the purpose and practice of being a leader in ministry underscored the theme of this year’s Timothy Barnabas Conference at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) on Nov. 6.

“You can’t lead people you don’t love; you can’t lead people you don’t believe in,” said Hunt, who has served as pastor of First Baptist Woodstock, Georgia for 32 years and as a former Southern Baptist Convention president.

During Tuesday’s chapel service, Johnny Hunt, senior vice president of evangelism and leadership for the North American Mission Board, preached on the model of leadership found in 1 Thessalonians 2:7-9. In his message, Hunt explained the metaphor Paul used to describe how leading a church is like that of a mother who nurtures and imparts her own life to her children. The motive for leading and caring for others, Hunt explained, stems from love.

“Deep love is what causes a person to lead a church the same way your mother led you,” said Hunt.

An afternoon session was held for men in which Hunt discussed the attributes and practices that make a good leader such as humility, commitment to a clear vision, a love for prayer and the Word of God and having a mentor.

“If prayer isn’t necessary to accomplish your vision, it’s too small,” said Hunt. 

Hunt noted that leaders will speak what they are passionate about and explained leaders tend to lose this passion due to the following reasons: allowing the valuable to become familiar, desiring approval, a culture that is passive, increased apathy with increased age and not having a purpose beyond themselves.

“I’ve never lost my passion because I’ve never gotten over being saved,” said Hunt.

The women’s session was led by Janet Hunt and Lori Salierno Maldonado, CEO of Teach One to Lead One, a non-profit that partners with schools to help at-risk students achieve success through the pairing of a professional mentor. Maldonado spoke on the practice of choosing joy over bitterness when life and ministry become challenging.

“Joy is dependent on the purpose, the power and the presence of Jesus Christ,” said Maldonado.

Speaking on Philippians 4, Maldonado gave three ways women can find joy in the midst of difficulty: practicing the presence of God, focusing on the positive and embracing brokenness with humility. Joy, she explained, is an intentional thinking and living that when applied to brokenness produces “something that no unbeliever will ever be able to taste.”

“Don’t lose the sight of the simplicity and the profound depth of being a woman of joy,” she said.

In the evening a panel discussion and dinner were held at Wake Forest Baptist Church with Danny and Charlotte Akin and Johnny and Janet Hunt. The couples addressed a range of questions from the audience and moderator Tate Cockrell, associate professor of counseling and assistant director of the Doctor of Ministry program at SEBTS. Questions included a variety of topics ranging from what a spiritual leader in the home should look like and how to balance ministry and family.

“You will experience more sanctification in marriage and family than you will anywhere else in all of life,” said Akin.

The Timothy Barnabas Conference was started by Johnny and Janet Hunt more than 20 years ago as a way to encourage and equip pastors and their wives. Conferences have been hosted in 29 countries, ministering to more than 8,000 pastors and wives. For more information of the Timothy Barnabas Conference, visit timothybarnabas.com.

View photos from the Timothy Barnabas Conference here. 

View Hunt’s chapel sermon from the Timothy Barnabas Conference here.

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