PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (KT) – The Kentucky Baptist Convention's eight-stop Equip tour got off to a mountainous beginning on Monday night.
Around 150 Kentucky Baptist church leaders from eastern Kentucky came to Fitzpatrick Baptist Church for practical training in a variety of valuable church areas from the KBC staff members and others.
“We got the best the KBC has to offer right in our backyard,” said Tommy Reed, the pastor of the host church. “The Lord is giving us excellent training. I think it’s great, as a pastor of a mountain church, that they came here to the mountains first.”
First impressions from those attending sessions were good, too.
Jeff Trimble, a member of Allen Baptist Church, came wanting to sharpen his skills in evangelism. He was in a popular session with new KBC Executive Director Dr. Todd Gray, who shared skills and tips in evangelism during the session.
“I got some very good tips on how to improve my evangelism,” Trimble said. “He showed me how to build my confidence (in witnessing), a lot of neat ways. I felt like it was one area where I could really improve and it was very helpful.”
He said Gray’s passion for evangelism was obvious to everyone attending the session.
“You can just see it. He grows your confidence in yourself,” Trimble said. “I feel like he used every avenue you knew and then showed us some new ones.”
Larry Shepherd and Phillip Estep of Bethel Baptist Church in Magoffin County attended the security session and came away impressed with session leader Ron Aquiar who is regarded as an expert in the field.
“A lot of good information,” Shepherd said.
“He knows what he’s talking about and gave us an excellent presentation,” Estep said.
Sessions were offered in multiple areas to sharpen the effectiveness of the leaders in attendance. It included children’s ministry, church security, evangelism, finance, WMU, worship and music, and discipleship.
The Equip tour moves to Somerset on Tuesday night.
The KBC uses Equip to reach out and offer critical training in all areas of church leadership. In previous years, Super Saturday was a similar training that took place all in one day.
Steve Rice, a team leader in church consultations and revitalization, said the Super Saturdays were effective but didn’t get the attendance that the weeknight Equip sessions were having. They alternated years between Super Saturday and Equip for a while, but have now decided to stay with Equip.
“Offering it in the evenings helped the bivocational pastors,” Rice said. “It was hard for people to give up a whole Saturday with kids playing sports and so much else going happening. People are busy.”
Lucas said he always enjoyed Super Saturday but that Equip attracts more of a crowd.
The Equip sessions are being offered at eight different locations throughout the state. It starts at 6 p.m. and dismisses at 9 p.m. with participants able to choose two different sessions.
“This gets us closer to the churches,” Rice said. “We’re not\ more than an hour’s drive to almost any church in the state.”
Not only are the Equip sessions accommodating with the weeknight schedule but it’s also cost effective. Churches can register for $50 with unlimited participation from members or individuals can pay $10.
“This is the best deal this side of Walmart for any sized church,” said Pikeville First Baptist Pastor John Lucas. “We told our folks the church is covering the fee for everybody. That’s the beauty of the CP (Cooperative Program).”
Lucas said his church members had only about a 25-minute drive to Fitzpatrick Baptist Church.
“I like that there was some emphasis on church revitalization and discipleship,” e said.
The Fitzpatrick sanctuary looked full as Dr. Gray greeted everyone along with Paul Badgett, the East Region consultant of the KBC.
“The host church, Fitzpatrick Baptist Church, has been wonderful, the facilities are great. Pastor Tommy Reed and his staff have done a great job of putting this together. It’s just been a good place to be tonight.”