A record number of N.C. Baptists gathered at the 2024 Disciple-Making Conference to be trained and equipped for ministry through messages by Pastor Clint Pressley and more than 40 breakout sessions.

Pastor Clint Pressley shared the need for discipleship, discernment, doctrine and devotion during the 2024 N.C. Baptist Disciple-Making Conference while also encouraging attendees to cling to Christ and His promises during the event held Tuesday, Feb. 27.

Pressley, pastor of Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, preached a pair of messages that bookended the conference, which took place at the church’s Mallard Creek campus. The annual event saw a record number of registrants and attendees, with more than 1,250 pastors and church leaders from across North Carolina turning out for the conference.

The Disciple-Making Conference is N.C. Baptists’ largest, single-day event held for ministry training and equipping each year. 

Between Pressley’s messages, attendees could choose from more than 40 breakout session offerings that provided practical training and equipping on a variety of topics related to different aspects of ministry.

Pressley opened the conference with a message from Mark 9:38-41, in which John questions Jesus about someone who was successfully casting out demons after the other disciples had just failed in their attempt to do the same and were also arguing among themselves about which disciple was the greatest.

Pressley shared how Jesus’ disciples grew from being self-centered and concerned about the ministry success of others into individuals who had an impact for the kingdom of God while also making broader applications for believers today.

“We need disciplined minds and willing hearts,” Pressley said before sharing four qualities that present-day followers of Jesus need in their lives and ministries. They were: discipleship, discernment, doctrine and devotion.

Pressley also shared five elements of discipleship that God uses in the lives of believers – the cross of Jesus, the gospel of grace, the Word of God, the church and hard providences.

Pressley expounded on several of those themes in his concluding message from 2 Corinthians 8:9, titled “Christ Our Hope.”

“There is hope for us because of Christ,” Pressley said. 

With regards to Christ, Pressley encouraged attendees to take hold of what you know, take seriously Who you know and take to heart the meaning that you know. 

Conference organizer Brian Upshaw, who serves as director of the ministry strategies group for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, said he was excited to see the turnout at this year’s event and the variety of churches and people who were represented.

“There seems to be a tremendous energy in the state around our mission of making disciples who make disciples who are sent to the ends of the earth,” Upshaw said. “It’s been great to see that on display here. There’s been a real hunger for equipping and getting together as evidenced by the fellowship, and it just thrills my heart. I’m grateful for N.C. Baptists for supporting this event.”

Videos of Pressley’s messages as well as audio recordings from many of the breakout sessions will be made available in the near future at ncbaptist.org.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Photo by Ally Quesinberry, Hickory Grove Baptist Church