Marion | The IBSA Pastors Conference opened with praise and teaching on Life in the Spirit at Cornerstone Church in Marion October 7. The Conference precedes the Annual Meeting of the Illinois Baptist State Association.
“You cannot get rid of the law of gravity, but you can transcend it. You cannot get rid of the law of sin and death, but you can transcend it,” said Bob Dickerson, pastor of First Baptist Church of Marion in the first of six sermons from Romans 8.
“I thought about buying a T-shirt so that I could open my coat to see ‘No Condemnation!’” he said, pointing to the assurance of Romans 8:1. “I looked it up. Did you Amazon has those for sale?”
The longtime Illinois pastor told a room full of his colleagues, “We don’t have to worry about our performance—only about our obedience.”
In his welcome to pastors, Conference president Jonathan Davis of Delta Church in Springfield explained his selection of Romans 8 as the text for the series. The vitality we have as pastors comes from reliance on Christ reliance, he said. “This is the hope for you to go forward in longevity…. It comes from the Holy Spirit that’s in the business of regenerating lost lives.”
The second sermon was from Jonathan de la O, pastor of Starting Point Community Church in Chicago. He moved to the Fruit of the Spirit, while telling a story about the ongoing partnership between Hispanic churches in Chicagoland and downstate churches reaching out to migrant workers picking pumpkins near Pinckneyille.
“These pumpkins will be in your store in Chicago soon,” farmer Leon Adams who encouraged the gospel ministry to his seasonal workers told de la O.
“How many pies will they make?” the pastor recalled asking.
“These pumpkins are not for consumption,” Adams said. “They’re decorative.”
I thought, that’s crazy—a fruit that can be consumed is used for decoration.
De la O applied the lesson to the Fruit of the Spirit. “Can our relationship to the Spirit be the same—purely decorative—rather than mobilizing us to serve and to go?” he asked, to amens.
“Ask what God wants you to do, then do it!”
In a brief business session, Dustin Haile was elected president of the 2024 Pastors Conference. Haile, who is lead pastor of Gateway Church in Mt. Vernon, served as treasurer for the 2023 gathering. A new vice president and treasurer will be elected later, and the IBSA Bi-vocational Pastor of the Year will be named tonight.