Dr. Adrian Rogers often gave a word of warning to preachers concerning seasons of rest and renewal by admonishing us “to come apart from them or you will come apart among them.” A few weeks ago I took Pastor Adrian’s advice and spent a couple of days at the First Baptist Church of Indian Trail just outside Charlotte, North Carolina where Pastor Mike Whitson has led for almost three decades. There is no question that FBC Indian Trail is one of the greatest Bible churches in our nation and Pastor Mike Whitson is esteemed as one of the most gifted and authentic pastors in the Southern Baptist Convention. For several years now Pastor Mike has hosted the Bailey Smith Real Evangelism Conference which is described by Bro. Bailey as “a Hurrah for Jesus kind of Bible conference.”
While I have personally been blessed and privileged to preach at the R.E.C and it is a cherished experience for any Bible preacher, I discovered an even greater blessing than preaching at the R.E.C and that is simply being able to attend and enjoy the conference apart from the “burden” of delivering a sermon. My soul was stirred as I soaked up the anointed preaching from men of God like Dr. Bob Pitman, Bro. Junior Hill, Pastor Mike Stone and Dr. Mac Brunson just to name a few of the chosen vessels God used to stir my soul. My passion for the lost was renewed as I listened to the testimony of God’s transforming grace in the life of Mrs. Iris Blue and we worshipped in Spirit and Truth as Mike Speck and the FBC Indian Trail Choir took us to the Throne Room of Holy God. Along with my spiritual batteries being recharged, I had the opportunity to spend time renewing friendships with heroes like Bro. Bill Stafford and Dr. Mac Brunson. It was a joy to spend time with Bro. Bill Stafford rehearsing all that God has done in years past and the promise of even better days to come. What a sweet time of fellowship we enjoyed and the encouragement from Bro. Bill Stafford is priceless as a pastor and preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I am not aware of another venue that offers the opportunity to be with leaders and lovers of souls like that of Dr. Bailey Smith’s Real Evangelism Conference. I left renewed in my spirit and refocused on the winning of souls in these Last Days before our Lord returns. It is impossible to measure the impact and influence of leaders like Pastor Mike Whitson on my life and ministry. We are indebted to him for hosting R.E.C. and Dr. Bailey Smith for obeying and trusting God for over two decades of leading one of the greatest Bible Conferences in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention. Praise God for such wonderful times of refreshing and renewal and oh yeah . . . Hurrah for Jesus!