by: Pastor David Huffstutler
Our church hosts a pastor’s conference every year on the Monday before Memorial Day: “The Conference on the Church for God’s Glory.” Why? We could think of many reasons, but here are at least a few.
It provides an opportunity for us to serve the greater body of Christ. The church is “one body” with “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all” (Ephesians 4:4). Christians naturally serve one another as need and prudence allow. The New Testament has many examples of churches providing food and shelter for Christians traveling through or sending finances from one church to another. Our conference is an opportunity to serve our attendees by providing a venue for excellent teaching and fellowship. (And they enjoy the snacks and coffee, too!)
It connects us to other churches, pastors, and Christians. Our church has no formal connection to other churches except perhaps that we mutually support a handful of missionaries with finances and prayer. Without formally belonging to an association, our conference allows us informally network with other churches and pastors. By having seminary presidents and professors speak or even by allowing someone to present his ministry on a table, we suggest our approval of these institutions. These pastors and churches are especially helpful to one another when searching for a pastor or helping one another through a crisis. If our church ever stops hosting this conference, we should work hard to maintain relationships with other churches or consider joining an association for mutual support. At the least, perhaps we could create a pastor’s fellowship of sorts and make the church aware of godly men who can assist our church in a time of need.
It allows for definitive statements on pressing topics. The point of a conference is for people to come together and make authoritative statements. Our church is not the authoritative church to tell others what to believe and do. Rather, we serve sister churches by carefully choosing and matching speakers with topics that are affecting churches today. Generally speaking, the greater the Christian reputation, character, and giftedness of the speakers, the more authoritative their preaching will be. Interestingly, this has an effect on the conference attendance. Our attendees want to hear from men who accurately handle the Word of truth, live godly lives, and are known by many for doing so. Their preaching might address matters of doctrine among fellow Christians or issues that involve society at large.
It pushes us to maintain our property well. In one sense, we would maintain our property well whether or not we had a conference. We would clean the building, fix things, trim trees, and so on. But nothing cleans the house like when you expect guests. We push to clean things up before the conference, and then we enjoy the fruit of our labor by not having as much to do until cleaning up again in the fall.
All quotes ESV. Articles by Pastor Huffstutler are at davidhuffstutler.com.