DULUTH — An upcoming listening tour for pastors throughout the state will focus on better self-care in numerous areas, thereby becoming better equipped as husbands, fathers, and pastors.
Georgia Baptist Executive Director J. Thomas Hammond recently announced the tour alongside Tim Dowdy, lead strategist for Pastor Wellness of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board. Dowdy explained how the term “wellness” covers more than one’s physical health.
“I certainly include that as part of it, but [wellness] includes the whole person and the pastor’s family. We know you have a target on your back, Satan’s always working against you, and it’s tough being the lead in ministry. But we want to come alongside you and be a help to you in any way we can.”
The sessions will be set in a roundtable format and feature interaction with Hammond and Dowdy on the future of the Pastor Wellness ministry offered to Georgia Baptist pastors and their families.
Hammond pointed to the success and invaluable feedback from last year’s listening sessions in leading to those starting in a couple of weeks.
“We get so much out of listening to our pastors,” he said. “The last tour was very beneficial and helped us learn how we can best resource our pastors and churches. These sessions are a critical part of our strategy in staying closely connected to those in the field.”
Six dates will include 12 listening sessions spread through the six ministry regions of the state.
East Central Region, Wednesday, Jan. 29
10 a.m. Turning Point at Mable White, Macon
2 p.m. First Baptist, Thomson
West Central Region, Wednesday, Feb. 26
10 a.m. SonRise Baptist Church, Newnan
2 p.m. Peace Baptist, Decatur
Southeast Region, Monday, March 2
10 a.m. Emmanuel Baptist, Blackshear
2 p.m. First Baptist, Richmond Hill
Northwest Region, Wednesday, March 4
10 a.m. Salem Baptist, Dalton
2 p.m. First Baptist Church, Woodstock
Southwest Region, Thursday, March 19
10 a.m. First Baptist, Leesburg
2 p.m. First Baptist, Thomasville
Northeast Region, Monday, March 23
10 a.m. First Baptist, Helen
2 p.m. Prince Avenue Baptist, Athens
Hammond said feedback from last year’s listening sessions were key determiners in the ongoing restructuring of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.
“We want to make sure that what we do is wanted and needed, not just an idea someone had,” he explained. “It needs to relate directly to pastors’ needs. I can see such listening sessions as a mainstay of the Mission Board’s work for years to come.”
For more information and a video of welcome from Hammond and Dowdy, visit gabaptist.org/listeningsessions.
Scott Barkley serves as editor of The Christian Index.