Dr. Tolar in 40th year at Dry Creek Baptist Camp
DRY CREEK — The mission of Dry Creek Baptist Camp is to promote the good news of the Gospel, bringing in spiritually solid leaders for their programmed events. Their annual Bible Conference is no exception to that.
Dr. Bill Tolar, from Jonesboro, has been a staple for the Bible Conference for 40 years, returning each year because of his love for "the people, the great fellowship, and Louisiana Baptists".
Tolar’s goal has always been to get down to the “nitty gritty” details of the text and prepare pastors for the next year’s annual January Bible Study chosen by the Louisiana Baptist Association through Lifeway.
Tolar, who turns 88 in July, said over the years he's had to adjust his “professor-style teaching” that he customarily pointed more towards pastors.
Since the conference has expanded its audience to mostly church congregation members attending with their pastors, he sprinkles in some inspirational messages during his sessions to appeal to everyone.
Todd Burnaman, camp manage, said Tolar is “a jewel” and “the best-kept secret” that he tells everyone about.
Mary Ann Jones from First Baptist Church West Monroe, where Dr. Tolar used to be an interim pastor, falls in the category of congregation member.
She attended the conference for the first time five years ago and travelled from West Monroe four out of the last five years to hear Dr. Tolar again. He is what got her to the event originally.
"He's a walking encyclopedia and knows everything...he has so much insight to the Bible’s history," says Jones of sitting under Tolar's teaching.
Though Tolar’s teaching seems to be the consistent attraction for the Bible Conference, there are some other faces that have been appearing at the Bible Conference roughly the same amount of time Tolar has been teaching.
Margie Nell Walker and Billy Wilson met many years ago when Walker asked Wilson to play a piano at a restaurant. They played traditional hymns that allowed the crowd to sing and hum along. Walker and Wilson’s simple joy for bringing the gospel through song was evident in their simple setup of a piano, a stool, and a microphone.
Lindley Creek and Dr. Rick Brewer are new to the Bible Conference scene. Lindley Creek, from Missouri, provided bluegrass-style worship music for the last two years at the Bible Conference. The musical family consists of married couple John and Kathie Greer, and their children Jase and Katie.
Brewer, the new president at Louisiana College, humored the crowd with funny stories to draw them in to listen to his messages about dealing with times of frustration and living a life of conviction.
Burnaman said when they look at a guest speaker to bring in every year, they look at local people they know and believe others can connect with.
The camp manager said he would love to see the Bible Conference grow in attendance. The more people that attend, the more they can branch out to bring in other people.
Burnaman wishes people would come learn from the academic genius of Tolar and truly appreciate the treasure he is while he is still around.
If you would like to attend next year’s Bible Conference or any other event involving sound biblical teaching, check out the Events Info page on drycreek.net to learn more. The Bible Conference, hosted every year in April, is free for anyone to attend.