By Gary Myers
NEW ORLEANS — For years Johnny Hunt has taken time from his busy pastoral schedule to encourage ministers across the country through Timothy+Barnabas conferences. On Sept. 4, Hunt led a special, one-day Timothy+Barnabas event for the next generation of pastors at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
“We appreciate the ministry of Johnny Hunt and Timothy+Barnabas. The day was special as Pastor Johnny made a rich spiritual deposit into our students and local pastors,” said Blake Newsom, dean of the chapel at NOBTS. “Being around Johnny Hunt and listening to his heart, one can’t help but to be inspired, encouraged and excited about God’s work in and through the local church.”
“I certainly believe God used Pastor Johnny to encourage students and pastors to continue in the ministry, to strive for more in the ministry and to be faithful in the calling that God has given them. It was a great day for the NOBTS family,” Newsom said.
Hunt, longtime pastor of Woodstock Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., and former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, began the day-long event at NOBTS by preaching to a packed house at Leavell Chapel. The message, which Hunt called “Jesus Overcoming Me,” focused on the sanctification God wants to bring in the lives of believers.
Drawing from Romans 7:15-25, Hunt pointed to the transparent words of the Apostle Paul. This leader of the early church who had given up so much to follow Christ admitted that sin was a constant struggle in his life. In the text, Paul identifies Jesus as the way to victory over sin.
“Little by little, over time, from conversion until Jesus comes back or you die, you are in the process of biblical sanctification,” Hunt said. “The good news is that all the perfections of Jesus are at our disposal.”
Hunt said that the process of sanctification imparts the qualities of Jesus Christ into the lives of HIs followers. As believers grow, their desires begin to align with those of Jesus.
“It’s His patience, His holiness, His faith, His purity, His godliness that is manifest in and through every sanctified soul,” Hunt said. “What I really need is to be overcome by Jesus.”
Hunt said that gratitude, accountability (to Christ and others), love and God’s commands should motivate the believer to submit to sanctification.
“The book of Romans deals with the fact that you and I, before we came to Jesus, … were slaves to sin,” Hunt said. “When Jesus saved us, we did not cease being slaves. We just changed masters. You are now … listen to the Bible … slaves of righteousness.”
During two afternoon sessions, Hunt focused on “Stewardship of Influence.” Hunt posed a series of questions dealing with godly influence. That focus on influence grew out of a year he recently spent thinking, reading and journaling about godly, pastoral influence.
“What does God use, biblically, to build influence in my life?” Hunt said, sharing some of questions he journaled during that year-long focus. “If there was a truck to back up to my heart, what would God unload in my heart to make me a man of spiritual influence?”
As he asked and answered these questions in his journal, Hunt sought ways to communicate them in a practical way. Hunt’s team used this work to created a small workbook filled practical suggestions to help guide the two afternoon sessions.
In the first session, Hunt encouraged his listeners to build influence with intentionality. Making clear distinctions between influence and authority, Hunt said influence flows from character and integrity and seeks to build up others.
Teaching from Exodus 18 in the second session, Hunt pointed to the leadership training Moses received from his father-in-law, Jethro. Moses had grown tired, weary and overworked from carrying the leadership load solely by himself. Jethro encouraged him to invest in “capable men” to share the load.
“[This is] single greatest [biblical], text-driven, leadership lesson God’s ever given me,” Hunt said.
The Timothy+Barnabas organization provided the conference to students and local pastors free-of-charge. The North American Mission Board’s Pastors for Pastors initiative co-sponsored the event.