For many people, "summer school" is a chore rather than a privilege. But for more than 70 Oklahoma pastors and other ministers, the 2012 Oklahoma Baptist University Pastors School provided an opportunity for learning and retreat led by well-respected OBU alumni who also have pastoral experience.
OBU's Herschel H. Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry hosted the Pastors School July 16-18 on the Shawnee campus. The School is designed to provide an opportunity of ministry development for Baptist pastors.
Ministers such as John Cullison, bi-vocational pastor of First Baptist Church, Geronimo, Okla., found the event a "tremendous payload of information delivered by presenters with an uncommon passion for pastors."
"Our times of worship led us into the presence of God," Cullison said. "The Pastors School at OBU was at once refreshing, inspiring, convicting and challenging."
Sponsored by the OBU Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry, The Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma and NavPress, the school featured three Baptist scholars and pastors: Dr. Hance Dilbeck, pastor of Quail Springs Baptist Church, Edmond, Okla., and a 1987 OBU alum; Dr. Calvin Miller, former pastor of Westside Church in Omaha, Neb., and a 1958 OBU alum; and Dr. John Bisagno, pastor emeritus of First Baptist Church, Houston, and a 1955 OBU alum.
Dilbeck led the morning Bible study on the theme "Shepherd the Flock," based on 1 Peter 5:1-5. Miller led the afternoon plenary sessions on the theme "Preach Like Jesus: Exposition Redefined," based on Matthew 13:34. Bisgano led the evening plenary sessions on the theme "12 Principals of Blessed Ministry" as well as a session on preaching to "millennials," the generation born in the 1980s and '90s.
"In this first OBU Pastors School in more than half a century, OBU and the Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry were able to serve, encourage and equip pastors from across the state of Oklahoma," said Dr. Mark McClellan, dean of the Hobbs College and chair of the committee tasked with planning the school. "Exceptional speakers powerfully presented biblical truth, godly wisdom and life experiences to scores of pastors and staff. It was a truly marvelous time. This Pastors School is one of the ways that OBU can fulfill its mission to serve and assist our churches in fulfilling their mission and the Great Commission."
Dr. David W. Whitlock, president of OBU, encouraged the development of the school, which fulfills part of the University's strategic initiatives outlined in the plan called OBU 2020.
"From the beginning of this vision, the desire of the president and our team has been to provide a Pastors School at OBU that will both instruct and encourage," said Dale Griffin, dean of Spiritual Life. "Based on the responses we have received from pastors who attended from across the state, the Pastors School accomplished both."
Most of the ministers participating in the school serve as senior pastors leading churches of all sizes in the state. Griffin said the Spirit of God spoke mightily through the speakers as participants were lovingly instructed, carefully corrected and skillfully trained.
"We were thrilled to serve pastors who serve large churches and oversee multiple staff members," Griffin said. "Yet, because our president has lived the life of a bi-vocational pastor, we were all especially pleased and honored to serve the many bi-vocational pastors who attended the school."
The event also featured sessions taught by OBU professors from the Hobbs College. Dr. Alan Bandy led a session titled "Preaching Revelation," and Dr. Christian George led a session titled "Preaching Like Spurgeon." The group also shared times of worship led by Dr. Ken Gabrielse, dean of OBU's Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts, and Dr. Louima Lilite, assistant professor of music.
The 2013 Pastors School is slated for July 15-17 on the Shawnee campus.