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Theology Conference October 28-29, 2022

Our Theology Conference this year will be held on Friday night, October 28th and Saturday morning, October 29th. Our speaker, Dr. J. D. Payne, will be speaking to us about reaching unreached people groups within the United States. He writes in his book Strangers Next Door: Immigration, Migration and Mission, “While we rightly call out, equip, and send brothers and sisters to the nations to preach the gospel, many times we are unaware that our neighbors across the street or down the hall are of the very people group to whom we send missionaries” (page 35).

Unreached People Groups (UPGs) are groups of people that have little to no access to the gospel. Over the last two decades, there has been a huge movement of people from their country of origin to the West. In his writings, Dr. Payne challenges the churches in the West to reach their UPG neighbors with the gospel and then partner with them to return to their country of origin to reach their family and friends with the gospel.

There are additional global gospel opportunities when we realize that God has brought the nations to our neighborhoods. The task can be less daunting when we are speaking gospel truth to the person next door as opposed to flying to the far reaches of the world. God in his sovereignty moves people around the world to expand his kingdom. And we have the opportunity to share the gospel with those UPGs who have never heard even within our own country.

Who is Dr. J. D. Payne? He serves as professor of Christian Ministry at Samford University. Prior to this, he was the pastor for church multiplication with The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama. Before moving to Birmingham, he served for ten years with the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and as an Associate Professor of Church Planting and Evangelism in the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, where he also directed the Center for North American Missions and Church Planting.

Personally, he is from Corbin, Kentucky, and holds a Ph.D. degree in Evangelism and Church Growth from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is married to Sarah, a physician in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics with Christ Health Center in Birmingham, Alabama. They have three children: Hannah, Rachel, and Joel.

He hosts a podcast called Strike the Match, and he is the author or editor of several books on missions. Included in his many books is his Strangers Next Door: Immigration, Migration, and Mission. He has pastored churches in Kentucky and Indiana and has worked with four church planting teams. Rather than seeing himself as the “Apostle Paul-type,” he best describes himself as a “Barnabas” to church planters and pastors.

Lord willing, this Theology Conference will be a great time of edification, encouragement, instruction, and fellowship. Do not miss out on the opportunity to learn about the Great Commission in the United States from a leading expert in the field.


-Alex and Nicole Carr