Baptist Pastors' Conference to Focus on Church Planting

Church planting will gain much spotlight at the annual pastors' conference of the Southern Baptist Convention in June.

"This year's conference we are going to have a major emphasis on church planting. There is a renewed sense of urgency to take the gospel to the ends of the earth," said Vance Pitman, President of the 2011 Southern Baptist Pastors' Conference.

The June 12-13 conference in Phoenix, Ariz., will be held under the theme, "Aspire: Yearning to join God's kingdom activity," taken from Romans 15:20.

"We don't need another conference or more sermons...but what we need is a fresh awakening, a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit that would begin something that would literally change the world," said Pitman, who is also the lead pastor of Hope Baptist Church in Las Vegas, Nev.

One of the conference goals is to raise $100,000 offering to take the gospel to an unreached people group in the Arabian Peninsula through a translation project and humanitarian relief.

"We are partnering with the International Mission Board to target an unreached people group in the Middle East. A large portion of the offering given by the pastors of the SBC will go directly to assist the efforts that are being made to reach this people group," said Pitman.

Besides the translation project, a portion of the offering will be used to fund training conferences for national pastors in Africa & South East Asia.

The conference, meanwhile, also desires to see 1000 pastors engage in planting a new church in North America in the next 12 months, between June 2011 and June 2012

"Just because we have this conference, a thousand new churches are going to be engaged in planting churches in pioneer areas in North America. It is going to be an incredible time of God moving in our midst," shared Pitman, in a seven-minute video on the SBC website.

The 2011 SBC Pastors' Conference is held prior to the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting, and features renowned speakers including John Piper, senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis and author of more than 40 books.

Others on the list includes Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif.; Louie Giglio of Passion City Church in Atlanta; Johnny Hunt of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga.; Peter Ndhlovu of Bible Gospel Church in Africa in Lusaka, Zambia; Paul Gotthardt of Life Baptist Church in Las Vegas; Darrin Patrick of The Journey Church in St. Louis; Gregg Matte of First Baptist Church in Houston, Texas; and evangelist Bob Pitman of Muscle Shoals, Ala.

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