19th Church Development Conference Draws More Than 600 Leaders

Dr. Tony Evans and a group of his friends told more than 600 pastors and church leaders how to "slay the giants" in their ministries at the 19th annual Church Development Conference this week.

Dr. Evans, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship Church in Dallas and founder of The Urban Alternative, set the tone at the opening general session of the conference Tuesday night at the Hyatt Regency DFW Hotel.

He said that David triumphed against Goliath because he had a heavenly perspective that the other Israelites lacked.

"If you have a giant-sized problem, it’s so you can see a bigger-than-giant-sized God," Dr. Evans said.

Other conference speakers hit the themes Dr. Evans introduced again and again during the week. "You start thinking great thoughts about God, and you’ll start having small problems," said Chip Ingram, a well-known Christian radio host and author.

One of the highlights of the conference was the message given by Fred Luter, senior pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, which still hasn’t reopened because of damage from Hurricane Katrina two years ago. He talked candidly of his personal doubts after he lost his church and home in Katrina.

"If the enemy can get you to fear, he can get you to doubt what God can do in your life," he said. "If he can get you to fear, he can get you to doubt whether you can slay the giants in your life."

Other speakers included Dr. W.J. Shaw, president, National Baptist Convention, USA; Dr. Steve Farrar, founder, Men’s Leadership Ministries; and John Jenkins, senior pastor, First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Landover, Md.

Intensive workshops were offered in a wide variety of topics, from "Penetrating the Hip-Hop Culture" to "The Johanine Epistles." Forty-three people participated in comprehensive training in the National Church Adopt-A-School Initiative, which addresses the spiritual and social needs of urban youth and families through a church and public school partnership based on the Dallas model. The Urban Alternative, Dr. Evans’ national ministry, has provided training and technical assistance as the initiative spreads around the country.

TUA also hosts the Church Development Conference. This year, some 630 pastors and church leaders attended and 119 received Church Development Certificates in areas such as leadership, counseling and theology.

Next year’s 20th anniversary conference will be Sept. 29-Oct. 3 at the Hyatt Regency DFW Hotel.

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NOTE: To interview Dr. Evans, contact Steve Yount at [email protected] or (972) 267-1111.


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