“It has been a joy and a blessing for our church to host the conference for the past 11 or so years,” said the church’s pastor, Dr. Kara Blackard. “Last year was supposed to be our final one, but due to the outpouring we received after announcing its close decided to do it just one more time.”
“This will definitely be the last one,” he continued. “For a lot of reasons, it has to be.”
The 2016 grand finale will be held Wednesday, Nov. 2 – Friday, Nov. 4 at the church.
Beloved Evangelist Bailey Smith will relate the uncompromising proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Other highly-anticipated guest speakers will include: Gerard Harris, Junior Hill, Paul Blair, Paige Patterson, Ergun Caner and Dr. Robert Jeffress.
Musical entertainment will be provided by the “Mike Speck Family”, the “Mark Trammell Quartet”, the “Collingsworth Family”, “Legacy Five”, “Allison Speer”, “Mae Beth Harris” and the “Waddington Family”.
The line up is as follows:
• Wednesday, Nov. 2 – “Legacy Five” and Bailey Smith at 6:30 p.m.
• Thursday, Nov. 3 – Junior Hill and Paige Patterson at 10 a.m.; Paige Patterson and Junior Hill at 1:45 p.m.; and the “Mike Speck Family” and the “Collingsworth Family” at 6:30 p.m.
• Friday, Nov. 4 – Paul Blair and Gerald Harris at 10 a.m.; Ergun Caner, Paul Blair and Allison Spear at 1:45 p.m.; and the “Mark Trammell Quartet” and Robert Jefress at 6:30 p.m.
A gift of love to the community, the free event will include lunch and supper on Thursday and Friday. A nursery will also be provided for those who need it.
“Bailey has been doing these conferences all over the country and has decided this will be his last one,” said Dr. Blackard. “So, not only will it be the last one at our church, but it will be the last one period.”
Featuring premier singers and preachers from across the country, the event typically draws a crowd of 2,000 or more over a three day period and has been known to have miraculous effects upon those attending.
“I’ve seen it restore pastors who were on the verge of quitting and lift up those who were burdened beyond belief,” said the pastor. “It is my hope this final conference will be a time of refreshment for everyone as it has been it past years and that those who come will be blessed.”
“We have been fortunate over the years to have a generous amount of help with the conference and are grateful to all who have pitched in to make them a possibility.” said Bro. Blackard as gave thanks to all who have contributed to make the conferences a success. “We appreciate everything anyone has done.”
Bringing together believers from across the U.S., Bailey Smith’s Real Evangelism Conferences have resonated with countless Mississippi residents and visitors.
In fact, people have traveled from as far as Louisiana, Texas, Florida and North Carolina, according to Dr. Blackard.
“We have one pastor who preaches at Twin Lakes Baptist Church on Vegas Drive in Las Vegas, Nev. who from the first time he came seven years ago hasn’t missed a conference,” he said. “I wish everyone would come and be touched by this conference because this is not our conference, this is everyone’s conference.”
Supported by the Baptist Convention and the Alcorn Baptist Association, the conference has also been made possible thanks to local business and individuals.
“The Hampton Inn of Corinth, has been especially gracious to give those traveling to the conference a cut rate on rooms,” said Pastor Blackard who recommends guests consider checking into the following hotels in Corinth for accommodations during conference time: The Hampton Inn – 662-286-5949; The Holiday Inn Express – 662-287-1407.; or the Quality Inn at 662-287-4421.
A year-long undertaking, the church began planning the final conference before even getting over the preceding one.
“We have a wonderful congregation who have been willing to devote their time and resources to help us with the conference,” said a thankful Blackard. “They love on people and act as our army of servers. Many have even given up their vacation time to be there.”
“As a pastor it blesses my heart to hear people say ‘We felt so loved by the way people ministered to us while we there’,” he continued. “This may be our last conference, but it doesn’t mean we are just going to sit around. We just don’t know yet what our next step will be. It’s time to focus and regroup.”
(Wheeler Grove Baptist Church is located at 21 County Road 519 in Corinth. For more information, call 662-287-2864 or visit www.wheelergrovebaptist.com.)