OBU will host the 2016 OBU Pastors School July 11-13. The theme for the event, designed to provide a ministry development opportunity for Baptist pastors, is “Prayer: Key to Preaching the Word in Power” using Ephesians 1:15-23.
The 2016 Pastors School will feature K. Marshall Williams, Sr., senior pastor of Nazarene Baptist Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and president of the National African American Fellowship, SBC; and Michael Catt, senior pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia.
Breakout sessions will be led by Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry faculty Dr. Tawa Anderson, assistant professor of philosophy; Dr. Matthew Arbo, assistant professor of biblical and theological studies; Dr. Bobby Kelly, Ruth Dickinson professor of religion; and Dr. Heath Thomas, dean of the Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry and associate vice president for church relations. Guest speakers will include Robert Kellogg, president and CEO of the Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma.
OBU President Dr. David W. Whitlock shared, "Our aim at Oklahoma Baptist University is to continue the long standing tradition of reaching out to ministers in Oklahoma and beyond," he said. "I served as a bi-vocational pastor for 14 years, and I know the importance of ongoing ministry preparation. During that time, I enrolled in courses through OBU and attended pastors schools for encouragement and development as a pastor. I found those times of study and growth to be extremely helpful in my ministry. As a distinctively Christian university, OBU is uniquely positioned to reach out to ministers - both full-time and bi-vocational - for theological and ministerial preparation."
Dr. Heath Thomas, dean of the Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry and associate vice president for church relations, encourages all pastors and church leaders to attend the event. “"I am thrilled to take part in this year's Pastor's School at Oklahoma Baptist University. Pastors and leaders will be challenged and encouraged by two of the finest pastors that I know in K. Marshall Williams and Michael Catt. We will discover together how to navigate some of the raw, real challenges that we face today whether they are spiritual, theological, economic, or practical. I am excited that the OBU Pastors School is a proven resource that adds value and builds health in the lives of ministers on the front lines of kingdom work."
Dale Griffin, dean of spiritual life, is excited to once again plan this event. “The theme for the 2016 OBU Pastors School is on the topic of prayer,” he said. “The men who have committed to lead our keynote sessions are men whose lives have been marked by a pattern of prayer that has not only touched and strengthened their own churches, but churches across the U.S. and around the world."
Williams earned a bachelor’s degree from Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He then earned a Master of Divinity from the Palmer Theological Seminary of Philadelphia. He served as a missionary with Sports Ambassadors, a basketball evangelism ministry team, which toured the Philippines, Hong Kong, Tokyo and five countries in Africa. He has also served as an adjunct chaplain and Bible expositor for the Philadelphia Phillies, Eagles and 76ers. In June of 1984, he was called as the sixth pastor of the historic Nazarene Baptist Church.
In November 2006 and again in 2007, he was elected president of the Baptist Convention of Pennsylvania/South Jersey. In 2008, he was elected president of the State Convention Presidents Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention. In 2014, he was elected president of the National African American Fellowship, SBC.
Catt has served as senior pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church since 1989. Under his leadership, the church has grown from a neighborhood church to a regional, multi-ethnic congregation with members from eleven nations. The church has 3,000 members and has three campuses covering 130-plus acres. In 2003, he launched the ReFRESH pastors conference, held annually in Albany, Georgia, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
He served as the president of the 2008 Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference, representing more than 42,000 churches. He has spoken at conferences, colleges, seminaries, rallies, camps, NBA and college chapel services, as well as The Billy Graham Training Center. Catt was also the sole Southern Baptist representative at a small group meeting with President George W. Bush in the oval office in 2002.
He was also instrumental in launching the church’s film ministry, Sherwood Pictures, along with Alex Kendrick. Catt has served as the Executive Producer of “Flywheel,” “Facing the Giants” and “Fireproof,” and has worked with Alex and Stephen Kendrick to help churches use their movies as an outreach resource, working with Provident Films, Outreach and LifeWay Resources to develop Bible studies in conjunction with the films.
“The OBU Pastors School is a vitally significant event for all Oklahoma pastors,” said Dr. Stan Norman, provost and executive vice president for campus life. “As someone who has served as a pastor, I am blessed by the camaraderie, the high level of instruction, the deep exposition of the scriptures, and the practical lessons learned each year during the Pastors School. The speakers will challenge you and stretch you to learn and grow in your knowledge of the Word of God, while encouraging you in your ministry vocation. I strongly encourage all pastors in Oklahoma and beyond to attend this event.”
"Preparing for the 2016 OBU Pastors School is a highlight of the year because of the anticipated fellowship with friends from across the state,” Griffin said. “Not only is the Pastors School a highlight for personal enrichment as a minister of the gospel, it is also a time of refreshment through the fellowship experienced during the three day event with a beautiful backdrop of the OBU campus."
The OBU Pastors School includes housing on campus for two nights, two evening meals, two breakfasts, one lunch, and plenary and breakout sessions. The event begins Monday, July 11, at 1 p.m. and concludes Wednesday, July 13, at noon. Cost is $99.
To register or for more information, visit www.okbu.edu/pastors. For further questions, contact OBU’s s Spiritual Life office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (405) 585-5700.