BNc Editor J. Randal Matheny with PTP speaker David Kenney

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (BNc) by J. Randal Matheny — The final count is not yet in, but over 3,200 saints converged on the Sevierville Events Center for a record-breaking Polishing the Pulpit Aug. 23-29.

Thanks to a generous missionary discount from the organizers and to the kindness of friends whose plans for PTP fell through, my wife and I attended the entire week. This was our first time at the event.

Our daughter, who has spent a year in the US after leaving home, asked us to pay her weekend to PTP, the Spiritual Renewal Weekend, as a birthday present, which we were happy to do.

The organization of the event, provided by the leadership of the Jacksonville, Ala., congregation, was superb. Tracks for youth, women, elders, missionaries, preachers, deacons, homeschoolers, to name only a few, provided something of interest for most everyone. The Missionary Rendevous track was added this year to the evangelism sessions.

Classes for children left parents free to attend sessions. Exhibits by booksellers, ministries and others served the participants well.

On Tuesday night, James Meadows was honored with a lifetime service award.

Polishing-the-PulpitFor those who couldn’t load the PTP 2013 app on their iPhones, iPads, and Androids, a full-color schedule was provided on registration, and in PDF format on the website.

For the first time, thumb drives with audio of the classes were distributed to those who stayed for the entire week. The organizers will likely evaluate whether this offering kept more people for the entirety of the event or caused them to miss more sessions, since they could listen later.

Why do people attend PTP? Hannah Giselbach’s post is not untypical of many:

I came to PTP feeling somewhat alone and disheartened. I left feeling uplifted and revitalized. I left with a fire within me after spending time and fellowshipping with over 3,000 Christians who I know I can count on, wherever they are in the world throughout the year, to be fighting the good faith. I can depend on them to walk alongside me in faith, even if I can’t physically be with them.

A first-time atendee, Vicky Yocum, shared her perspective on the PTP Facebook page:

I can say that I have a renewed hope for the brotherhood, stronger bonds to share, many amazing messages to ponder, and uplifting lessons to benefit every area of my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you, to all those who plan and support PTP. It did not disappoint! It was so refreshing to be among over 3,000 saints, block out the world for a week, be surrounded by encouraging people who truly care about souls, and listen at the feet of such wise teachers. I could go on and on. If you have not attended—plan, budget, and make the trip!


Eric Owens speaks at PTP. Photo: Amy Clevenger

The call to “refresh, renew, recharge” was fulfilled in many ways through the PTP offerings.

My wife and I noted a few of the blessings we received at PTP:

  • We were able to connect with old friends and make new ones.
  • We were given a break in the demanding schedule of our missionary furlough.
  • We were challenged by practical studies of the biblical text.
  • We were motivated by the powerful charges of speakers to faithfulness and service.
  • We had time to enjoy together as a couple far from the pressures of home and work.
  • We were encouraged by seeing many faithful saints who labor under similar conditions as ours.
  • We were stimulated by practical ideas being used in a wide variety of ministries both in the US and abroad.
  • We were encouraged by the positive atmosphere and spirit of rejoicing established by the PTP organizers.

Since its beginning in 1995, PTP has grown into a mature brotherhood event for edification, instruction, and evangelism. May God use it powerfully for many years to come.