Just a few minutes in Belafae Johnson’s presence is an encounter with joy. The church planter from Mascoutah is excited about his church in the Metro East community. He finds joy in the work of the pastor. And he wants his brothers in ministry to have the same opportunity.
“I’m truly excited about having the chance to worship Jesus with a bunch of pastors who are in need of rest and encouragement,” Johnson said. “I know many of us are struggling, I know that it has been a long and tough season, but I also know that God is good and that there is joy to be had!”
As president of the 2022 IBSA Pastors Conference, Johnson has chosen as a theme “Unspeakable Joy” from 1 Peter 1:8. And he’s bringing to the platform pastors whose preaching promises to be invigorating.
The slate features New Orleans’ own Fred Luter, past president of the Southern Baptist Convention and his son, Chip, who is senior associate pastor at Franklin Avenue Baptist Church after a season in metro Tampa. Also featured is Cam Triggs, lead pastor of Grace Alive Church in Orlando. He is director of urban apologetics for the Jude 3 Project and a contributor to the Gospel Coalition.
Illinois will be well represented in the line-up by preachers Doug Munton, pastor of First Baptist Church of O’Fallon, Shayne Robinson, pastor of Redeemer Church in Waterloo, and Daniel Chung, pastor of Church of the Beloved in Chicago. Worship leadership will be provided by the host, Metro Community Church in Edwardsville, and by Mark Goins, worship pastor at The Journey Church on Hanley Road in St. Louis.
With 1 Peter 1:3-9 as inspiration, “verses 8-9 make my heart leap,” Johnson said. “The prior verses preach truth to my heart that compels me to preach with joy, love with joy and serve with joy, in spite of the various trials and difficult seasons. I wonder what would happen if the church was known to the world not by what it’s for or against, but by being people who are visual representations of the truth that this text points us to.”
The Pastors Conference begins Tuesday, Nov. 1, at 1 p.m., and will conclude at noon on Wednesday, just ahead of the IBSA Annual Meeting.
Serving with Johnson in organizing the event are vice president Jonathan Davis, pastor of Delta Church in Springfield, and treasurer Vaughn Sanders, pastor of First Baptist Church of Bolingbrook.
“It’s my heart’s desire that those who come are reminded of who are they because who Jesus is and because of what he has done,” Johnson said. “One of the many implications of Christ’s finished work on the cross and his promised return is that we get to be people who can experience joy in good and difficult seasons.
“I hope that at some point during our time together we rejoice with joy!”
There is no charge to attend the Pastors Conference and everyone is welcome. An offering will be taken. Pastors or churches that wish to help defray expenses may contribute ahead of time. Make check payable to: IBSA Pastors Conference, c/o Illinois Baptist State Association, 3085 Stevenson Drive, Springfield, IL 62703.