CU's CALL Conference features speakers and attendees getting together from different ethnicities and races

CU's CALL Conference features speakers and attendees getting together from different ethnicities and races

                                                                                                                                                                May 26, 2015
                                                                                                                                                 For Immediate Release

Dr. Robert Smith, Charles T. Carter Baptist Chair of Divinity Beeson Divinity School,
was the keynote speaker at Campbellsville University's two-day The CALL Conference.
(Campbellsville University Photo by Tami Dugas)

By Joan C. McKinney, news and publications coordinator

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Campbellsville University’s The CALL Conference accomplished its goal of teaching evangelistic preaching and how best to reach people for Christ.

Dr. John Hurtgen, dean of Campbellsville University’s School of Theology, said the conference brought together “brothers and sisters of various ethnicities and races and denominations united to learn from a master practitioner of preaching in general and evangelistic preaching specifically in the African-American tradition as well as from leading practitioners from Kentucky,” according to Dr. John Hurtgen.

Hurtgen said Dr. Robert Smith, Charles T. Carter Baptist Chair of Divinity Beeson Divinity School where he teaches Christian preaching, presented with “humility and humor” and “made for a rich experience for both young and older attendees.”

A total of 75 people attended the conference last week at the Louisville Education Center. The attendees were from Kentucky and Tennessee and as far away as Pennsylvania.

“Dr. Robert Smith’s recall by memory of the word of God (with chapter and verse!), his grounding of his message in the authoritative and powerful word of God, his ability to wed--in the best of African-American Christian tradition—the visceral and the rational, the academy and the pulpit—is with few peers in the United States,” Hurtgen said.

Previously Smith served as the Carl E. Bates Associate Professor of Christian Preaching at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

Dr. Twyla Hernandez, assistant professor of Christian missions, who organized the conference, said in addition to the main sessions with Smith, the breakout sessions also “allowed us to focus in on how to communicate the gospel with those in our communities.”

Hernandez said Smith had been her mentor for 20 years, and she said he did “a tremendous job communicating God’s word in a way that lifted up and spiritually refreshed each person in attendance.”

Hernandez said the title of the conference was “Called to One Hope” from Ephesians 4:4. She led the graduate class titled “Evangelism and the Church Today” that accompanied the course. Hernandez said attendees at the conference learned “that CU values such instruction and perspectives that they discovered at this conference! They certainly learned (perhaps anew) the fundamentals of preaching and of evangelistic preaching.”

She said, “Within the homiletical instruction, attendees were given dynamic examples of how responsibly and faithfully to speak the good news of Jesus Christ.” Hurtgen agreed and said the purpose of the two-day conference was to “examine various aspects of evangelistic preaching, from the preacher to the sermon, from the audience to the setting.”

Hurtgen said, “Dr. Hernandez had carefully planned to include a fine worship group that bathed the event in worship and praise from beginning to end. Each session focused on a different facet of evangelistic preaching; however, the goal of bringing the gospel to people who need to hear always remained central.”

Dr. Eric Johnson, pastor of Greater Galilee Baptist Church in Louisville, was one of the break-
out session leaders. (Campbellsville University Photo by Tami Dugas)

Breakout sessions were led by Dr. Jeff Eaton, lead pastor of Hope Community Church in Lawrenceburg, Ky.; Dr. Joel Carwile, senior pastor of Valley View Church in Louisville, Ky.; and Dr. Eric Johnson, pastor of Greater Galilee Baptist Church in Louisville.

Seventy-five people attended the conference and heard music in photo above. (Campbellsville
University Photo by Tami Dugas)

Hernandez said, “Everyone to whom I spoke at the conference seemed to be overwhelmed, in the best possible way, by the things they learned from the speakers at The CALL Conference.

“At the same time, their hearts were also stirred to continue serving in the ministries to which they have been called, but they return to those ministries spiritually renewed.

“One attendee sent me the following email: ‘Thank you for listening to God and providing us with a place to hear Him through The Call Conference and the awesome teachers.’”

Dr. Joseph L. Owens, chair of the CU Board of Trustees, was one of the participants in the
conference. (Campbellsville University Photo by Tami Dugas)

The conference was co-sponsored by Campbellsville University’s School of Theology and the Reuben and Jewel Robertson Worship Fund of Campbellsville University.

Preparation has begun for another conference in spring 2016 at the Louisville Education Center.

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,500 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master’s degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is

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