Wayland Baptist University & Texas Baptists recently hosted The Gathering

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Jerry Joplin, director of the Lubbock Area Baptist Association, Kenneth Jackson, pastor New Light Baptist Church in Lubbock, Lorrie Brown, university minister at First Baptist Church Plainview, Emily West, wife of Jacob West, pastor of FBC Plainview, and Lance Woods, pastor of FBC Clarendon, participate in a panel discussion about the effect of COVID on ministry during The Gathering at Wayland Baptist University. (Photo provided by WBU)

LUBBOCK, Texas (PRESS RELEASE) — The following is a press release from the Wayland Baptist University:

Wayland Baptist University and Texas Baptists co-hosted The Gathering last Friday and Saturday, inviting pastors and their families to join in a time of fellowship, and a time when Wayland and Texas Baptists could show their appreciation for church staff ministry efforts in West Texas and the Panhandle.

Approximately 50 pastors and family members from the Lubbock Area Baptist Association, Caprock Plains Baptist Association and the Amarillo Area Baptist Association took part in the event that was organized by Donnie Brown, director of spiritual life at Wayland. Brown said he worked with Texas Baptists to organize the event after seeing pastors struggle with COVID and the effect it had on their churches and ministries.

“Pastors and church staffs had to navigate many different issues that were challenging,” Brown said. “We wanted to give them an opportunity to get away, relax and have fun being around other ministers with similar experiences who could encourage each other.”

Dowell Loftis, director of the Center for Ministerial Health at Texas Baptists, welcomed guests to the Friday evening opening dinner. Loftis encouraged pastors to get to know one another and connect with Texas Baptists representatives who were in attendance.

“We believe we can do more together than we can by ourselves,” Loftis said.

Don Newbury, retired president of Howard Payne University, was the featured speaker. He regaled participants with humorous tales of his experiences in Baptist life. Through his presentation, Newbury reminded those in attendance that, “Life is what happens to us when we’re making other plans.”

Newbury stated that there is currently a culture where “everything goes.” Along those lines, one of the things he said he would like to get rid of is the phrase “right quick” and its implication that things should be done quickly. It’s good, he said, to take time, be still and know God. He also encouraged fellow Christians to “trust others, communicate and believe that we are still doing what God wants us to do.”

Following dinner, the group was invited to Wayland President Dr. Bobby Hall’s house for a reception where attendees were served dessert and coffee. The group reconvened Saturday morning for a time of worship and a panel discussion on how the COVID pandemic affected ministry throughout the year. Breakout sessions followed where small groups continued the discussion. The event closed with a luncheon and another spirited presentation from Newbury.

Brown was encouraged by the feedback he received from pastors and he hopes to work with Texas Baptists to make this a recurring event.

“From the comments I received, it was beneficial for those who were here,” Brown said. “It was very meaningful to them and they feel revived and renewed.”

(Press release from Wayland Baptist University)

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