One Hundred Seventy-Two Attend Leadership Conference

Leading With Integrity | 2017 Leadership Conference

NASHVILLE, TN—One hundred seventy-two pastors, denominational officials, and church leaders from 19 states and a Canadian province gathered December 4-5 at Nashville Airport Marriott Hotel for the 2017 Free Will Baptist Leadership Conference. The two-day conference featured keynote speaker Clark Dickerson who explored the theme Leading With Integrity.

With 40 years of fund-raising experience (and more than three decades as a fund-raising consultant for Christian organizations), Dickerson has provided counsel for hundreds of organizations. For eight years Clark served as vice president of TCM International, a mission organization serving Eastern Europe prior to the fall of the Iron Curtain, traveling extensively throughout the Communist world to provide Christians a variety of spiritual and relief programs.

Clark founded Dickerson and Associates in 1985 and later merged with a friend to form Dickerson, Bakker, and Associates. As capital campaigns team leader for the company, today he focuses almost exclusively on assisting ministries, providing guidance to other consulting team members, and sharing his knowledge and experience through teaching, writing, and presenting.

Clark explored three important topics during his sessions: 1) the selection and training of board members; 2) effective governance by a board of directors; and 3) the importance of effective fund raising and public relations. The sessions were well received, sparking conversation and debate on these important topics.

“In a world where integrity is sadly lacking,” observed Executive Secretary Keith Burden, “it is crucial for leaders to be reminded of its value. The world is watching every move the Church makes, and Clark Dickerson provided clear, straightforward, easy-to-understand advice to help today’s Christian leaders live and lead with integrity.”

In additional keynote sessions, Will Beauchamp, pastor of First FWB Church Tampa, Florida, shared two lessons a biblical servant must learn when facing discouraging situations: 1) when others try to distract you, stay focused; and 2) when others try to slander you, stay faithful. Gene Williams, pastor of Parkers Chapel FWB Church, Greenville, North Carolina, explored the importance of accountability in the life of a leader, sharing four “pillars” upon which this important characteristic are built—responsibility, answerability, dependability, and liability.

Attendees enjoyed music provided by The Welch College Choir and Rejoice! Ensemble directed by Dr. James Stevens. Excellent meals provided ample opportunity for casual conversation, and Tuesday afternoon free time offered conference goers opportunity to renew friendships or enjoy the sights of Music City.

Eight national boards met in conjunction with the conference, including the Executive Committee, Board of Retirement, Free Will Baptist Foundation, Home Missions, International Missions, Randall House, WNAC, and Welch College, along with the 2017-2018 Nominating Committee.

“Iron sharpens iron,” Tennesseean Corey Minter observed as the conference drew to a close. “From sessions to services to fellowship, I left this year’s leadership conference more encouraged and thankful for our movement.”

The 2018 Leadership Conference will be held December 3-4 at the Nashville Airport Marriott. For updates, visit