OBU hosted The Call Conference on its Shawnee campus Saturday, Aug. 29. More than 240 participants came to the 10th annual event, which took place inside Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium. The theme for this year’s conference was “Unexpected,” based on 2 Corinthians 4:7.
Brian Baldwin, student evangelism and missions partner for Oklahoma Baptists, said The Call Conference is “designed for those who are exploring a call to ministry, whether they are discovering it or they are deepening their call.” This includes students of all ages as well as adults who feel that God may be calling them into ministry. The conference also serves to encourage and train parents and church leaders to mentor emerging ministry leaders.
Todd Sanders, Falls Creek program director and student ministry partner for Oklahoma Baptists, expressed his appreciation for this year’s The Call Conference.
“I probably share the opinion with other ministers in our Oklahoma Baptist churches, that I wish I had an opportunity like this when I first felt called to ministry,” Sanders said. “The Call Conference creates an integral step in creating a ministry pipeline in our state. It provides a great opportunity for our ministers to begin to develop future ministry leadership. What an awesome thing God is doing through this grassroots stirring of the Spirit to guide students in obedient service.”
Dr. Matthew Emerson, dean of the Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry at OBU, served as one of two keynote speakers and was excited to once again host this conference on Bison Hill. He discussed how OBU plays an integral role in the training and equipping of ministry leaders in the state, ultimately sending them to locations throughout the nation and around the world.
“OBU exists in partnership with our Oklahoma Baptist churches, and so we exist in part to serve those churches by equipping the saints called to ministry for the work of the ministry through the Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry. In the Hobbs College at OBU, we want to be a catalyst for transformation and equipping for those called to ministry, and part of the pipeline from a person’s call to ministry to their service in a local church.”
Emerson hopes that the experience of being on campus and hearing from some of the faculty within the Hobbs College will encourage those in attendance to consider OBU for their theological and ministry education and training.
“Any person called to ministry needs to be equipped biblically, theologically and practically. In the Hobbs College at OBU, we are committed to being biblically rooted, theologically faithful and practically relevant in everything we say and do as we work to equip future leaders for kingdom impact. Any degree in the Hobbs College will provide foundational and indispensable education in those three areas and prepare a student for ministry in whatever position and location to which God calls them.”
Dr. Ed Newton, lead pastor of Community Bible Church, in San Antonio, Texas, was the other keynote speaker for the event. Newton, a popular speaker each summer at Falls Creek youth camp, opened the conference speaking on “confirming the call.”
“Today is about putting a hand on your shoulder,” Newton said, “looking you right in the face and saying, ‘God is not just going to greatly use you. He is currently greatly using you.’ Stepping into that space and place that God is calling you is not about your ability in serving God. It’s about your availability.”
Emerson spoke on what it means to grow in the call to ministry. Wrapping up the main sessions, both Baldwin and Sanders led a discussion time of what it means to follow the Lord in the calling.
Participants also had the opportunity to choose among 13 breakout sessions. Two new topics at this year’s conference included, “First Two Years of Ministry,” led by Parker Goforth, and “Small Town Ministry,” led by Ryan Yount. Dr. David Gambo, Reverend A.E. and Dora Hughes Chair of Christian Ministry and assistant professor of Christian ministry at OBU, led a session on obedience.
The other breakout topics included “Pursuing a Call that Looks Different,” “Leading Those Called,” “Women and Ministry,” “Missions,” “Children,” “Youth Ministry,” “Pastoral Ministry,” “Worship,” “Evangelism” and “Discipleship and Small Group Ministry.”
Learn more about degree options in the Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry.
Story courtesy of Chris Doyle with The Baptist Messenger.