Oklahoma Baptist University hosted a Baptist21 discussion panel June 10 during the Southern Baptist Convention’s 2019 annual meeting in Birmingham, Alabama. This panel featured speakers from Baptist 21 including Dr. Ronnie Parrot, Dr. Jed Coppenger, and Nathan Akin, hosted by Dr. Heath Thomas, dean of OBU’s Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry.
Baptist21 is a pastor-led network that seeks to be a positive voice for the future, promoting the centrality of the gospel, the primacy of the local church, a focus on all nations, and Southern Baptist distinctives.
When asked what it means to pastor well, Parrott explained his personal story with his church.
“I came in to a church that was broken and I was able to pastor this church well with two things, prayer and care,” he said. “I focused on casting vision for the future and the congregation followed.”
Coppenger explained how he has loved on people who come to his church.
“Since it is so unusual to meet someone from our city [Nashville, Tennessee] in our city, we meet a lot of people who have moved here,” Coppenger said. “Through this we have found that people don’t want to be wowed, they want to be loved and to hear the gospel connected to their life. As a pastor, you need to know your Bible, but it is also important to know your people.”
Akin wanted to recognize why Baptist21 is focused on helping pastors.
“Baptist21 wants to be a group of pastors that has conversations with pastors in order to encourage them and help them,” he said. “It is important to use language that your congregation understands. It’s not about what you say, it’s how you say it. It takes a little bit more energy to not use theological language and explain things in a way that people will hear and want to learn more about.”
Akin serves as director of Baptist21 and lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. He also serves as director of church relations for the Pillar Network. He earned a Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Murray State University.
Coppenger is the lead pastor of Redemption City Church, a church plant in Franklin, Tennessee. He earned a Bachelor of Science from North Greenville University, Master of Divinity from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Ph.D. from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Parrott is the lead pastor at Christ Community Church in Huntersville, North Carolina, a suburb of Charlotte. Prior to pastoring Christ Community, he led churches in Kentucky and Arkansas. He earned a Bachelor of Science in family ministry from Boyce College, and earned both a Master of Divinity in evangelism, missions, and church growth, and a doctorate in executive leadership from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He serves as an advisor on the Leadership Council for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.
To view the entire panel discussion or for more information about OBU, visit www.okbu.edu.