Posted on : Wednesday September 9, 2009

By Shannon Baker, BCM/D National Correspondent

COLUMBIA, Md.—Former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee will give the keynote address at an inaugural “As Iron Sharpens Iron” leadership training event for church leaders, to be held at The Church at Severn Run in Severn, Md., on Oct. 29.

Huckabee, who ran for the nation’s highest office in the past national election, is the former two-term governor of Arkansas from 1996-2006. He is the host of FOX News’ “Huckabee” and a daily ABC Radio broadcast show.

As a candidate who earned victories in eight primaries and caucuses, Huckabee withdrew from the campaign trail in March 2008 when Sen. John McCain secured the Republican nomination.

Huckabee’s numerous television appearances (“The Tonight Show,” “Saturday Night Live,” “The Colbert Report”), along with the release of his latest book, “Do the Right Thing: Inside the Movement That’s Bringing Common Sense Back to America,” portray Huckabee’s wit and wisdom, and most importantly, his vision and values.

Huckabee also will host a book signing at this event.

With a background in advertising, broadcasting and as a Southern Baptist pastor, this Hope, Arkansas native has demonstrated a God-given ability to effectively connect with people of all backgrounds, from the common man to the corporate executive.

“Although Huckabee is, by definition, a politican, this is not a political event,” shared organizer Bob Simpson, associate executive director of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware. Simpson points to Huckabee’s Southern Baptist roots, which gives the former presidential candidate a unique perspective of what it is like for the church leaders across Maryland and Delaware.

According to Baptist Press, Huckabee is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark., and studied at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He was an Arkansas pastor, serving Immanuel Church in Pine Bluff and Beech Street Church in Texarkana.

He also served as president of the Arkansas State Baptist Convention.

“Huckabee has been in the same shoes as many of us,” shared Simpson, who also serves as interim pastor at Severna Park Church in Severna Park, Md. “He understands the issues in our churches. He understands the urgency of the Gospel. He understands that our leaders need to be encouraged—and sharpened.”

This event, named after the Proverbs 27:17 Bible verse that says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another,” is the first in a series of training events that will feature high profile speakers, shared Simpson, who also serves on the board of the Baltimore-based Christian Professional Network, an organization to promote Christian principles among business owners and professionals.

CPN’s goal is to provide a framework for practical help for businesses and ministries, by integrating sound business principles with Christian faith and biblical values. CPN works across denominational lines to seek a unified testimony to Jesus Christ in the business community.

Simpson, who holds a master of science degree in marketing from Johns Hopkins University, also sees the value of working cross-denominationally with the larger evangelical community to assist each other to accomplish the Great Commission.

“That mandate to ‘go and make disciples’ can’t be accomplished by one group of people,” Simpson noted.

“And, it can’t be accomplished by just the pastors in our churches,” he added, noting that the “As Iron Sharpens Iron” leadership training events will move beyond church staff to include also the lay leaders who give of their time and heart to make a difference for Christ.

“I envision seeing pastors bring three or four of their leaders to these high profile training events, where their vision can be strengthened, where their efforts can be more unified, and where each person feels encouraged,” he said.

The cost of the all-day event, with breakout session as well as Huckabee’s address, will be $25 per person, which includes lunch and a copy of Huckabee’s new book.

For more information, stay tuned to or contact Donna Shiflett at (800) 290-5290 x226.