by: Gary L. Hutchens
During Aug. 16-22 of this year, 2019, my wife and I were blessed to be able to attend the Polishing The Pulpit Lectureship in Sevierville, TN. This was the fifth time for me and the fourth for my wife. We had not been to PTP since 2014. We both were so positively effected that she quickly expressed her determination that we need to be there every year from now on. We were encouraged spiritually, strengthened in our faith, instructed in God’s word and motivated in our dedication tremendously.
I’ve attended a great many lectureships and workshops at numerous locations over the years. In my mind Polishing The Pulpit stands head and shoulders above all the rest as to overall quality and effectiveness. It offers approximately seven hundred specialized classes from which to choose.
The name Polishing The Pulpit is somewhat misleading. My understanding is that the lectureship had its beginnings over twenty five years ago as several preachers began getting together to share sermon ideas. But it is no longer a forum primarily for preachers. The group grew as they invited others to join them. Specialized classes addressing specific needs for elders, women, Bible class teachers, youth workers, teens and young children were developed and added to the format. The first formal lectureship was conducted in 1995 in Jacksonville, Alabama.
Word spread, and people began attending from all over the country. The format grew to include classes on virtually every aspect of Christianity and the church. The lectureship was moved to a beautiful convention center in Sevierville, TN in the Smoky Mountains, and Christians began attending from other nations. Attendance approached 1000 and then surpassed 2000. In 2014 well over 3000 came. Attendance records continued to be set and then broken. This year the official total was 5245. Just being in a gathering of that many Christians is encouraging beyond words.
The subjects covered in the various tracks of classes were wide-ranging, relevant, practical and instructive. Speakers from across the brotherhood, such as Alan Highers (former appellate court judge), Phil Sanders (television host on “In Search Of The Lord’s Way”) Dan Winkler (teacher at Freed Hardeman University) along with numerous speakers on specialized topics presented timely lessons. I was reminded how important a work we have in this world as the Lord’s church. Teens had activities extending well into the night. Young children had a week long VBS set in the city of Jerusalem. It was really something to see!
I encourage you to plan to take even a few days to attend this lectureship next year. If nothing else, plan to be there for the weekend sessions. Better yet, be there Monday through Wednesday, the most concentrated period of classes. You will be spiritually enriched. The atmosphere is very much family oriented. The setting, just outside the Smoky Mountains National Park, is awesome. You will come home stronger and be a greater blessing to the Lord’s church. Let’s take a group from Sunny Slope. Pray about it, seriously, and may God guide us all in His will…
Gary L. Hutchens