SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (BNC) by Jeff Archey — It was 1994 when three preachers got together in Tiplersville, Miss., to brainstorm sermon ideas. From there, a few friends were invited. And then others. And then others.

Ask the original three and they would have had no idea that it would become “Polishing the Pulpit.”

Polishing the Pulpit — or PTP for short — just finished its twenty-first year in Sevierville, Tenn., at the Sevierville Events Center where 3,822 individuals registered from 41 states and five nations.

Tom Holland and Jeffrey Archey
Tom Holland and Jeffrey Archey

With 190 speakers and 13 concurrent lessons each hour with over 700 separate topics, it was a full week embracing learning, growing, fellowship, and plans presented to help the local congregations of each attendee.

“One highlight this year was Sunday morning worship with over 2700 in one location. At that moment, we were one of the largest gatherings of God’s children on earth. It was quite remarkable to worship God with that many people,” Allen Webster, one of PTP’s directors, said.

The New Testament Village was a new addition in the exhibit hall, featuring the marketplace, a first-century dwelling, common place, city walls, Herod’s temple, and a stable. Children of all ages met in this area daily for classes divided into ages 2-5, “PTP VBS” for ages 6-9 and “PTP Camp” for 10-12 year olds.

The teens enjoyed classes during the day and gathered for “Late Night PTP” singing each evening in the Atrium of the Events Center along with various fun events through the week.

The teens gave feedback they wanted ‘meat and not just fluff. So, in turn, a textual class on Proverbs was offered in addition to classes on courting and sexuality based on God’s teachings from His word. Truly, we have a generation that knows its God.

Adults had the option of classes for Elders, Deacons, Preachers, Ladies — actually, classes for every saint, with a variety of topics covering such subjects as dealing with drug addiction, Judiasm, Anti-ism and Archeology.

For the first time, 12 participants received a “PTP Diploma,” reflecting a five-year study of 32 hours per year from the various tracks offered.

Polishing the Pulpit is part of the work of the Jacksonville, Ala., congregation, under the oversight of her elders: Ralph Harman, Homer Smith, and Robert Whiten. The directors are David Barker, Eddy Gilpin, Mark Howell and Allen Webster.

A gospel preacher in Cleveland, Tenn., Jeff serves as the master of ceremonies of PTP. Top photo by Eddie Parrish.

Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. He likes to read novels in his back-porch hammock. http://randal.us

4 thoughts on “‘They had no idea what it would become:’ A short history of Polishing the Pulpit

  1. Thank you for all of the people who worked so hard to put this event together. It is so refreshing to be with brothers and sisters from around the world and know that we can be spiritually uplifted. Personally, I was thankful for so many women in my classes that some were standing and on the floor as we talked about helping our families with special needs that are very neglected by churches. 80% of families with special needs children do not attend any church. One of the biggest problems, we do not have people ready to help these precious souls and encourage the parents spiritually and emotionally. Their loads are heavy and it is wonderful so many want to reach out and evangelize this group of people. This can be the way to reach more lost. Thanks for the support in this area.

    1. The Karns church of Christ in Knoxville, Tn. is having a 1 day “Bible Day Camp” for special needs children on Sat. Oct. 3,2015 but they will only be able to have 15 children this time. The children were to be registered by Sep. 19 according to their website (karnscoc.org).

  2. I’m turned off that they charge $100 for a copy of the lessons. I know there are expenses involved if you get professional quality, but making audio recordings is not very difficult and with volunteers it could be done very cheaply. Every week, I spend hours of my personal time putting our congregation’s sermons online, as well as various recording from work that I think are important, so that people who can’t attend in person can still benefit. The $100 fee, in my opinion, is a big barrier to distribution, and very uncommon with today’s inexpensive technology and culture of such things like this normally being free. I’m sure there are those who say it’s easily worth $100, but how am I going to actually know that without paying first? I would really like to hear the sermons, but $100 is too much of a splurge for me.

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