PLC speakers encourage speaking from pain, focus on calling

Release Date: March 10, 2009    

PLAINVIEW – During the opening session of the 88th Annual Panhandle Plains Pastors’ and Laymen’s Conference at Wayland Baptist University, speakers urged attenders to use previous hurts and healing to create eloquence, while focusing on the calling to ministry to work through rough times.

Christine Wyrtzen, host of the nationally syndicated radio program Daughters of Promise, shared some of her own personal hurts in encouraging pastors and laypersons alike to embrace their God-given eloquence. But she said there are few key pointers.

“Ministry becomes most powerful when our language is birthed out of the healing of our deepest wounds,” Wyrtzen said in Monday afternoon’s opening session in Harral Auditorium, noting that her own healing came after being betrayed financially by long-time ministry partners. “Eloquence is not about putting words together for others’ praise or being a good storyteller. We let our pain fester in private and we think that disqualifies us for work in the kingdom. But God wants to touch us, redeem our hurts and then use them for His glory.”

Wyrtzen said eloquence does not depend on education or experience or even self-confidence, because it is only born of God. And when pastors – or pastors’ wives or laypersons, she said – focus on those healed places God touches, they will be able to truly impact audiences in a way that glorifies God and touches hearts.

“Anywhere we’ve experienced the power of God, our words just tumble out of us. Your eloquence needs to come from a remote place inside of you,” she said. “Your story will give (others) the courage to trust God with their own story.”

Following a brief break and worship music, noted author Dr. Calvin Miller, professor of preaching and pastoral ministry at Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School, encouraged pastor and laypersons to stay tied to their calling to God even when the scenery is bleak.

Referencing Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, verses 1-11, Miller spoke of the apostle’s own emphasis on the call to minister and influence the kingdom, regardless of the situation. He also shared stories of his own tough times in the 28 years of the pastorate, when he questioned his choice of profession.

“The only thing that got us through the rough stuff was that God had called us. You cling to the call and to Jesus and his holiness,” Miller said. “I used to say if pastors really loved God, they wouldn’t have burnout, but I came this close. Being called to the ministry of Jesus Christ means hanging onto that when there is no other affirmation out there.”

Referring back to First Corinthians, Miller noted that Paul encouraged Christians with his statement, “You lack no spiritual gifts for the calling.” He said if ministers and others will focus on unity in the church and maintain the passion that only comes with adherence to their calling, they will be able to endure even the hardships that church life often can include.

Also during the afternoon session, attendees heard a message from Dr. Paul Armes, WBU president, and were led in worship by Wayland sophomore Erick Kirby, who recently returned from a stint in Iraq with the U.S. Army.

Officers elected for the coming year include president Robert Storrs, pastor of Crossroads Baptist Church in Lubbock, and president-elect Ken McClung, pastor of First Baptist Church in Meadow. Secretary-treasurer for his 50th year will be Dr. Charles Bassett, retired vice president from Wayland and layperson from Weatherford. The first and second vice presidents were not yet announced.