Aug 11, 2010

Pray for Dr. Johnny Hunt

As a young pastor, I have several men in ministry who have gone before me who are "ministry heroes" of mine.  I believe it's vitally important for young pastors to have an affinity and connection to men who have gone before us.  We need to devoted to the "old dead guys" like Calvin, Luther, Spurgeon, Edwards, Whitfield, and many others who have left such a strong theological heritage.  Many of my young pastors love to read and quote these guys.  However, we also need to build on the firm ministry foundation and legacy that has been handed off to us by more modern "heroes" whose impact cannot be fully measured yet.  Some of my the men in modern time who have had a spiritual and ministry impact on me include men like Adrian Rogers, John MacArthur, John Piper, John Stott, Charles Swindoll, and more recently, Johnny Hunt. 

Many of you know about Dr. Johnny Hunt. He has a powerful testimony of being radically saved from a life of deep depravity.  During my early years, he was a bright, rising star in Southern Baptist life.  Many looked to First Baptist, Woodstock, GA because of it's explosive numerical growth in the 1990's and because of it's energetic and fiery pastor in the pulpit.  Dr. Hunt has been a regular speaker at Pastor's Conferences and the SBC platform for many year.  In more recent years, Dr. Hunt has led FBC Woodstock to have one of the largest missional impact on global missions of any church in our convention.  FBC Woodstock regularly sends mission teams to every continent on the globe.  Many innovative mission organizations have been started from members of that church and hundreds of people from Woodstock have left full-time vocations to go "make disciples of all nations."  That missional vision modeled and led by Dr. Hunt has been an inspiration to me and many young pastors who are fanning missional flames in their churches.

Dr. Hunt has been a fiery leader in the Southern Baptist Convention culminated by his last two years of service as SBC president.  He poured all his energy into leading our convention to the Great Commission Resurgence.  No matter what your feeling was about the GCR, no one can challenge that Dr. Hunt has a huge vision for Southern Baptists to do more.  

In addition, Johnny Hunt has always been about pouring out of himself into the lives of others.  He and FBC Woodstock host a phenomenal men's conference every year.  Our church this past February took 20+ of our guys who came back fired up.  For almost 20 years now, Johnny Hunt has set aside time through his "Timothy Barnabas" conferences to personally mentor young pastors and spend significant time with them and their wives.  I went to one of these about 8 years ago and was tremendously blessed.  I was scheduled to go to my first one since coming to Sixth Street on September 22-24. 

However, today I received a call from the conference letting me know that it had been postponed until March.  The reason is that his leadership as SBC president and full-time pastor of one of the largest churches in the convention has left him spiritually and physically drained.  Earlier this year, Dr. Hunt underwent successful prostate cancer surgery and recovery.  However, it didn't keep him from fulfilling his commitment to the men's conference or to his leadership of the SBC.  When he finished his service in June, he and his wife prepared for their sabbatical in July.  That leave of absence has been extended.  It appears that the hectic schedule and burden that he has carried for the SBC and for global evangelization combined with the physical toll of cancer surgery and radiation has drained this powerful man of God.  My heart is burdened for Dr. Hunt.  I certainly understand the postponing of the Timothy Barnabas Conference.  More so, I think this great man of God deserves the proper "well done" from his SBC counterparts and for all of us who are so indebted to his leadership to take a few moments to hit our knees and intercede on behalf of him and Janet.  Study the heroes of the Bible and you will see how great service was often coupled with deep need for refreshing and encouragement.

I have no doubt he will be back and as fiery as ever.  The church announced Sunday that he is scheduled to come back in mid-late September.  Please pray for God to strengthen him, encourage him, empower him, and refresh him.  Pray also that the time he and Janet are spending alone will draw them closer than they have ever been.  I pray that when my service to the church is evaluated, that my wife and I can still have the same love and devotion to one another that Dr. Johnny and Janet hunt display. 

For more info on Dr. Hunt, you can see the Baptist Press article here.


Razorback 82 said...

We are looking forward to Dr Hunts return!! He is an awesome pastor and evangelist!!