Last Friday I drove from Twin Falls, Idaho to Salmon, Idaho for the third year of Preacher School. To get to Salmon, Idaho from Twin Falls one drives through some of the most spectacular places in the intermountain west.
Preacher School is a grassroots work of pastors, interested in helping pastors in Idaho. Salmon Valley Baptist Church in Salmon, Idaho, Longview Heights Baptist Church in Olive Branch, Mississippi, the Eastern Idaho Southern Baptist Association, and the Utah/Idaho Southern Baptist Convention bring pastors from around the region for Preacher School.
This is seminary, the intermountain west way.
I’m not the most outgoing guy you’ll find. So, when I pulled into the parking lot at Salmon Valley Baptist Church I began my normal preaching to myself about how everything’s going to be alright. As soon as I walked into the door I was greeted with kindness that is common among believers. I looked around the room, I became at ease as I began to see the faces of men I’ve known for years, faithfully standing in their respective guard posts, preaching a timeless word from God.
I don’t know the larger history of the Idaho Preacher School, but I know Mike Palmer and Scott Hanberry. I’m not sure you can live in the intermountain west region and fellowship among Southern Baptist and not know Mike Palmer. For seventeen faithful years, Mike and his family have been at Salmon Valley Baptist Church. Scott Hanberry, planted a faithful work in the difficult place of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Both men presented the 2014 Idaho preacher School with care and passion for preaching.
I looked around the room and there was Jim Ballard, I’ve known of Jim Ballard since I was a high school student in southeast Colorado. There was Jack Harwell, pastor at Victory Baptist Church in Malad City, Idaho for the past 20 years. There was Dave Michael, deacon and supply preacher in eastern Idaho for as long as I can remember. There was Scott Plath, church planter in one of least reached communities with the gospel in Idaho. And Nathan Harden, a carpenter who has devoted his life to Lord for the Lord to use his skill set to help the Lord’s people in the Utah/Idaho region, and beyond, with building and maintenance needs.
I looked further into the room and found myself in a room full of preachers. Many of these preachers brought men from their churches who are supply preachers for the increasing need for faithful preaching in the region.
There are two ways to handle the need for preachers. First, and I don’t recommend this one, is to consider the need too great and we are too small and don’t do anything. The other is to call faithful men together and charge them to preach the word when it’s popular and when it’s not popular. This is what the Idaho Preacher School is doing.
I bless the Lord for this.
This year these men are taking the Idaho Preacher School across the Teton Mountain range to Worland, WY. Pray for preachers in western Wyoming this weekend as they gather on Friday and Saturday for seminary training, the intermountain west way.