Pastors, laymen to gather to "declare God's power"

PLAINVIEW – Church staff members and laypersons from throughout the area will gather Feb. 21-22 in Plainview for the 84th Annual Panhandle-Plains Pastors’ and Laymen’s Conference, hosted by Wayland Baptist University.

One of the longest running Bible conferences in existence, the event will feature the theme “Declaring His power to all generations.” Featured speakers include Chris Seay, pastor of Ecclesia in Houston and noted speaker on the postmodern movement; his father, Ed Seay, pastor of First Baptist Church in Magnolia; and Dr. Joel Gregory, former pastor and current editor of Chili Pepper Magazine.

Gregory and the younger Seay led the 2004 conference, garnering massive approval by attendees. The 2005 planning committee invited the pair to return, adding Seay’s father and two others to the speaking lineup. Jesse Rincones, pastor of Alliance Baptist Church in Lubbock, and Dr. Tommy Brisco, dean of the Logsdon School of Theology in Abilene, will also bring messages during the conference.

The event is intended to help churches bridge the generation gaps when it comes to reaching the world for Christ, said Rev. Jackie Gestes, pastor of New Horizons Baptist Church in Lubbock and president of the 2005 conference.

“There are all kinds of challenges to declaring God’s power to the generations, and there are different methods to doing this. We have to be careful not to change the methods so much that we change the message,” Gestes said. “We’re approaching the conference as a way to provide methods for reaching the generations for Christ in different ways. We want it to be represented by the music we offer at the conference as well as the speakers.”

Speakers are intended to represent various generations and ways to reach those groups, Gestes said, noting that Gregory brings a sense of history to the conference, having spoken many years ago at the event, while Seay brings a younger perspective and is a draw to the postmodern crowd. Gestes also pointed out that Robert McKenzie, pastor of Good Shepherd Baptist Church in Lubbock, will speak on Tuesday morning, and Russ Murphy, university minister at Indiana Avenue Baptist Church in Lubbock, will speak on Tuesday afternoon, rounding out the diversity of speakers.

The conference begins at 11 a.m. Monday with special luncheon sessions to be held at Wayland. A men’s session, titled “Taking the Gospel to the next generation,” will be held in the multi-purpose room, with Chris Seay giving the Buster generation’s perspective and Ed Seay offering the Boomer generation perspective. Lunch is provided by Wayland.

A women’s Bible study and luncheon will be held in the McClung University Center, room 211, featuring Duanea Armes, Wayland first lady and a member of First Baptist Church in Plainview, as speaker. Corrie Igo, a Wayland alum and former journeyman, will present a missions testimony, and special music will be featured as well.

The general conference sessions begin Monday afternoon, with the first at 1:30 p.m. in Harral Auditorium. Each session features a format of congregational and special music, theme interpretations, Bible study, testimonies and a message. Musical guests include the International Choir from Wayland, a children’s choir from First Baptist Church in Plainview, organist Jennie Lynn Hodges from Wayland, pianist and vocalist Denice Bridges from New Horizons church, the men’s choir from First Baptist Church in Levelland, Nathan Futrell and the praise team from New Horizons church, and others.

Other sessions are planned for Monday evening at 6 p.m., and on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. A special Hispanic session is set for 6 p.m. Monday in Brown Chapel, with Frank Palos, BGCT Church Health and Growth associate coordinator, and Gus Reyes, ethnic consultant at the BGCT, speaking.

Representatives and directors of missions from the sponsoring Baptist associations are active on the program as well. Those associations include Amarillo Area, Lubbock Area, Permian, South Plains, Caprock-Plains, Mitchell-Scurry, Red Fork and Top O’Texas.

Other officers for the conference include first vice president Danny Andrews, layman from FBC Plainview; second vice president Ken Glidewell, layperson from FBC Paducah; secretary-treasurer Charles Bassett, Wayland vice president emeritus from Weatherford; and president-elect Steve Vernon, pastor of FBC Levelland.

The conference is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Office of Church Services at Wayland, (806) 291-1165.