I am spending a couple of days in Miami with my son, Joel, at the 2nd Annual Miami Pastors' Conference. The conference is hosted by Pastor Rickey Armstrong and the Glendale Baptist Church. Its genesis goes back to 2001 when a few pastors met in Atlanta to discuss the prospects of hosting a conference geared toward encouraging African-American ministers to think of ministry based on the doctrines of grace. A conference did meet that year in conjunction with the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals but was not organized again until last year when Pastor Armstrong and GBC decided to host it.
The theme is "The Christ-Centered Aim of Preaching." Three speakers addressed us today. Ken Jones of the Greater Union Baptist Church in Los Angeles and Michael Leach of All Saints Redeemer Church in Decatur, Georgia led a workshop on the state of preaching in African-American churches today. It was fascinating, insightful and offered several helpful correctives that transcend cultural and ethnic distinctives. One observation that Pastor Jones made was the tendency of many preachers within the African-American community to relegate preaching to an "art form" with little regard for content. Of course, preaching is primarily defined by subtance ("Preach the Word") not style. Pastor Leach cited Jeremiah 5:30-31 as an apt description of modern evangelicalism. Listening to his arguments, I had to concur.
Tonight, Pastor Jones gave a very helpful message out of Luke 24 on the Necessity of Christ-Centered Preaching and Thabiti Anaybwile, pastor of First Baptist Church in Grand Cayman, Cayman Island, gave a wonderful example of doing what Christ did with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. He offered 5 examples of how to preach Christ from all the Law. We are still to hear from Pastors Armstrong, Anthony Carter and Sinclair Ferguson. I don't know if recordings of the sessions will be available. You can check with the church. If they are, they will certainly be worth having.