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Bivocational minister’s conference celebrates family, friends and Christ

July 13th, 2009 at 10:32 am

BELTON – Bivocational ministers and their spouses gathered July 10-12 at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor to discuss “Simple Solutions for Tough Times: Living By Faith” during the Annual Bivocational/Smaller Church Ministers and Spouses Statewide Conference.

The gathering includes practical seminars as well as time for networking and fellowship. Seminars included topics like conflict management, the use of technology in ministry, counseling and evangelizing communities, how to juggle a career, ministry and family and how to equip church leaders to serve different congregations.

“I hope families had good experiences in our workshops and learned a lot through them,” said Cecil Deadman, Baptist General Convention of Texas smaller church/bivocational consultant. “I also hope that [participants] were able to spend time together and enjoy some relaxation.”

A teen conference also was held for children of pastors, deacons, music leaders and administrators. The Nick Gainey Band led worship and Emily Prevost , BGCT associate director of the Congregational Leadership Team and young leaders consultant, was the keynote speaker. Prevost’s message challenged students to train themselves spiritually by praying and dwelling on Scripture by reading it habitually and focusing on key words.

“The talks were really good,” said Laurel Luedecke, a Bell Baptist Association summer missionary who helped lead the youth portion of the conference. “I hope it enriched their worship experience, and that they realized worship goes outside the normal church service.”

She believes it is beneficial for youth to network with other students with common backgrounds.

“It is important youth have this opportunity to mingle with kids that are in their same situation,” Luedecke said. “They’ve made good friendships, and hopefully realized they’re not the only ones going through their particular situation.”

Scholarship were presented to Joao Chavez, a Baptist University of the Americas student, and James Han, a Baylor University student, from the Claude and Ilene Slate Memorial Scholarship Fund. The scholarship fund is made possible through individual contributions and a pre-conference golf tournament each year.

“I think God worked through people like you,” Chavez said in receiving the scholarship. “It’s amazing how God has been faithful to me and my family.”

Both scholarship recipients are going into bivocational ministry, and the money will be used for their education.

“God is a great provider,” Han said. “Because of you, the Lord has pulled through in my life again.”

Leonardo Diaz of Primera Iglesia Bautista in Hitchcock was named the Exemplary Bivocational Pastor of the Year because of his committed leadership to both the church and his community. He was recognized for his service during the Hurricane Ike recovery period as he encouraged the community through work projects, block parties and worship services.

The group elected a new slate of officers: President Tony Tawater, pastor of Lone Willow Baptist Church in Cleburne; First Vice President Rosalind Ray of Fairy Baptist Church in Fairy; Second Vice President Richard Ray, pastor of First Baptist Church in Wink; Treasurer Danny Rogers, Living Proof Baptist Church in Cleburne; and Secretary Ellen Goodson of Highland Baptist Church in Denton.

Other recognitions were: Jimmy Young of Streetman Baptist Church as the Exemplary Bivocational Music Minister of the Year and Derrell Monday of the Bi-Fork Baptist Area as the Exemplary Director of Missions. The association also provided a plaque expressing appreciation for Randy Rather as president of the Texas Baptist Bivocational Ministers and Spouses Association since 2007.

Rather said, “I look forward to the years to come as we gather together to celebrate Christ in our heart and in our world.”

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