Here are the videos Mark Clifton referenced tonight in his session:
- “International Harvester” by Chosen Road
- Feeding the SWHS Football Team
- Longest Night Event
- Longest Night Event (newscast from 12/4)
December 4-5, 189 Free Will Baptist pastors and ministry leaders from 25 states gathered at Sonesta Nashville Airport for the annual Free Will Baptist Leadership Conference. Attendees enjoyed two full days packed with humor, training, fellowship, and business. Keynote sessions featured author and church planter Mark Clifton, who explored the theme “Reclaiming Glory” involving topics related to revitalizing struggling and dying churches.
Clifton is the lead national strategist for revitalization and replanting at the North American Mission Board. God has used Mark in planting or replanting more than a dozen churches across the United States and Canada. He is the author of Reclaiming Glory and produces a weekly podcast entitled Revitalize and Replant. Mark and his wife Jill have two sons, two daughters-in-law, and four grandsons.
During Monday’s opening session, after identifying the characteristics of dying churches, Clifton urged listeners to replant churches that bring God glory. He identified replanting as “an act of worship and requires us to lay down our idols [anything we run to for comfort, security, and meaning].”
Tuesday morning, Clifton detailed four approaches to helping a dying church: 1) give the building to a church plant; 2) share the building with a church plant; 3) merge with a church plant; and 4) replant the existing church from within. Each approach has challenges, but each also can be a solution for the dying church.
Tuesday evening, Clifton introduced four key requirements for church planting: 1) passion for the Bible and biblical preaching; 2) being both a disciple and a disciple maker; 3) a passion for the gospel; and 4) a passion for prayer. He concluded by sharing important traits every church replanter should display.
In addition to the keynote sessions, on Tuesday, 12 seminar speakers explored a wide range of important topics ranging from strategies for reaching and keeping college students to managing “messy” ministry and pastoral mental health, among others. Denominational leadership and committees also met for strategy and updates on ongoing initiatives.
However, the conference featured much more than sessions, strategy, and training. Ballrooms buzzed with animated conversation during banquet-styled meals. In-depth discussions continued long after meals and sessions concluded, spilling over into the hallways and common areas of the hotel. Various boards and committees also met, including the Board of Retirement; D6 Family Ministry; the Executive Committee; Free Will Baptist Foundation; IM, Inc; North American Ministries; Welch College; and state leaders and promotional directors.
North Carolina Promotional Secretary Reuben Cason expressed his enthusiasm:
“This year’s Leadership Conference has been invigorating! Listening to our denominational leaders speak about current issues and opportunities facing our churches today, and how to respond to these issues and opportunities has been challenging, comforting, and convicting. Mark Clifton has done an outstanding job addressing the subject of refreshing, replanting, and revitalizing our churches. It was good to be reminded we have hope for our churches because our Lord has promised to build His church.”
Executive Secretary Eddie Moody announced December 9-10, 2024, as the dates for next year’s meeting. Bestselling author Gary McIntosh will be featured as the speaker, exploring the theme, Flying Solo: Helping Pastors Survive the Isolation of Ministry. Visit nafwb.org/leader throughout the year for updates regarding the 2024 conference.