Pastors’ School provides world class Bible scholars

By Meghan Hendrickson

The 2012 Winter Pastors’ School is not just for pastors, but for all those with an interest in the Bible.

The Kyle Lake Center for Effective Preaching at George W. Truett Theological Seminary will present its annual Winter Pastors’ School this week.

The first session will be held at 7 p.m. today in the Paul Powell Chapel at Truett, and sessions will continue through noon Saturday.

The annual event is the center’s main conference during the spring semester and will include five sessions with worship and Bible study. Singer/songwriter Kyle Matthews will lead worship for each session.

The cost to attend is $75, but Baylor students and faculty can attend free of charge. Registration will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. today.

If students cannot attend all five sessions, they can still participate throughout the weekend.

The sessions will emphasize themes relevant to the fields of preaching and pastoral ministry. People involved in fields outside of ministry are also encouraged to attend, Dr. W. Hulitt Gloer, director of the center and professor of preaching and Christian scriptures at Truett, said.

Gloer said anyone who is interested in the Bible can learn something from the speakers.

“Though our focus is toward encouraging, challenging and inspiring people who are in ministry, the sessions are wonderful for any Christian who has an interest in learning about the Bible,” Gloer said.

Gloer said the event is open to non-Christians too.

“Regardless of the level of [students’] biblical interest, regardless of their faith tradition or background, these are opportunities to come and hear more about the Bible from people who are world-renowned scholars,” Gloer said.

Gloer said his favorite part of the weekend is listening to the guest speakers.

“They always fill my cup to overflowing,” he said. “Hearing these people who have given their lives to study Scripture speak from that experience, to me, is the most exciting part of it.”

This year’s Winter Pastors’ School will feature two biblical scholars leading the Bible study portion of the sessions.

Dr. Terrence Fretheim, Elva B. Lovell professor of Old Testament at Luther Northwestern Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., will be preaching from the prophetic books of the Old Testament over the course of the weekend.

Dr. David Garland, dean of Truett and the William M. Hinson professor of Christian Scriptures, is a New Testament scholar who will be preaching from Acts. He will consider some of the reasons why the early church’s ministry, according to the Gospel of Luke, was so effective.

Garland said members of the early Christian church were willing to risk their lives for the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that preachers such as the apostle Paul were clearly not in it for the money.

“The church integrated persons from all cultures and ethnicities,” Garland said, “and the church’s spirituality was inseparable from their sense of social responsibility.”

Recently, Garland published an extensive commentary on the New Testament Gospel of Luke, and he currently has a contract with another publisher to write a commentary on Acts.

The sessions of the Winter Pastors’ School are not sermons, Garland said, but rather biblical studies intended to help pastors in their ministry of preaching.

“It is important for pastors to have opportunities to fill their tanks every now and then, to have fellowship with other pastors and ministers and to renew their spiritual energy,” Garland said.

Dr. Joel Gregory, professor of preaching at Truett and member of the center’s committee, said this is his seventh year participating in the Winter Pastors’ School.

Over that time, he has seen the event host some of America’s greatest theologians and preachers, he said.

“Increasingly, Truett is becoming a desired destination for pastors seeking renewal,” Gregory said. “They come from numerous denominations, settings, stages of ministry and experience.”