The Resource Center for Pastoral Leadership (RCPL) at SNU facilitated four major events in 2016, including two Pastor’s Forums and the annual Youth Ministry Summit. All of these events were hosted on the campus of Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Oklahoma, with the Pastor’s Forums live-streamed to multiple host sites and individual participants viewing across the nation. From the inception of the Pastor’s Forums, the Wesleyan Investment Foundation has served as a partner and supporting sponsor, and Joshua Means, Vice President of Development for the WIF, represented the Foundation at both the spring and fall Forums in 2016.
In March of 2016, Bishop Timothy J. Clarke, pastor of the First Church of God in Columbus, Ohio, was the Forum guest, speaking on Passionate Preaching. A large group gathered on campus to hear this power-packed presentation, attracting a denominationally and ethnically diverse group of pastors, both on campus and to the satellite host sites. Many of our Nazarene pastors invited fellow ministers from their community’s churches to join them in viewing the Forum.
Reflecting on the Forum, Dr. Stan Toler, Founding Executive Director of the RCPL at SNU said, “Bishop Clarke is the embodiment of this Forum’s subject – passionate preaching – a powerful preacher indeed.”
In August of 2016, Dr. Stan Toler facilitated a life-long learning event as he presented The Relational Leader workshop on the campus of SNU. A unique feature of the event was the simultaneous translation of the seminar into Spanish via audio headphones provided, as well as Spanish workbooks and visual aids. A number of Hispanic pastors and lay leaders were in attendance and utilized the translation option.
Two events traditionally hosted in October are the fall Pastor’s Forum and the Youth Ministry Summit. This year’s Fall Forum speaker was Dr. LeBron Fairbanks, founder of BoardServe.org. His presentation, Five Non-Negotiables for Local Church Board Health, gave practical steps and resources for pastors of churches of all sizes and demographics. As a well-respected consultant to governing boards of Christian organizations, Dr. Fairbanks filled the seminar with information and assessment tools to enable pastors to nurture and develop leaders in their local congregations. Many of those who participated in this Life Long Learning event reported that they found it especially relevant, and exceptionally helpful and insightful.
Speaking from a background of leadership in a number of educational institutions in the Church of the Nazarene, including serving as President of Mount Vernon Nazarene University for 18 years, Dr. Fairbanks drew from his experience working with numerous church and non-profit boards in developing the strategies and questionnaires he shared with the participants.
The 8th Annual Youth Ministry Summit, also held in October, drew 64 youth workers to campus from across the South Central Field and beyond. Josh Griffin, co-founder and director of Download Youth Ministry, and former high school pastor at Saddleback Church in California, served as this year’s presenter.
With topics ranging from “Is It Really Worth It?” to “Youth Ministry Mistakes I’ve Made,” the veteran youth pastor generated lively discussions about the common issues faced in their local churches.
In partnership with the Office of Church Relations at SNU, Dr. Blair Spindle, University Pastor at SNU, and NYI’s South Central Field President, serves as coordinator of the Youth Ministry Summit. He reported that the youth pastors who attend the Summit invariably find the content to be top-tier and the times of fellowship with pastors facing similar challenges and obstacles to be extremely important to them.
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