THE PASTORS ARE HEADED SOUTH
Pastor Ryan and I will be away this weekend and through much of this coming week. We are attending the More and Better Conference being held in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
Florida is called “The Sunshine State,” but we are not going there for the sunshine. (Okay, okay, the sunshine will be nice! but there is a more important reason we are going there). Here is why this conference is so important that it warrants both pastors attending it.
First of all, there is what we will learn. The focus of the conference is Gospel-preaching. Gospel preaching is explaining each passage in such a way that we can see how the text is an expression of the Good News of Jesus Christ. It is easy for pastors to fall into the trap of teaching the Bible as a self-help book—a set of principle that will lead us to success if followed. But self-help is not what we all need most! We need God’s help.
It is an emphasis on God’s grace that makes any preaching distinctly Christian. Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20. In other words, it is our death and resurrection with Christ, through the Holy Spirit’s power, that makes daily living with God possible.
Self-help preaching leads us away from grace, toward self-reliance. It makes Christianity seem like just one more religion offering moral guidelines with no power to live them out.
The other thing that makes this conference important is that we will be joined by 13 other Christian Reformed pastors and spouses from our area. They are attending the More and Better Conference as a way of deciding if their church should embark on The Church Renewal Lab journey starting in September 2018.
Bethel’s involvement in the Church Renewal Lab has helped us to see more people than ever coming to Christ. We hope that many other pastors will be encouraged to lead their churches to participate in the program.
Please pray for this trip. We look forward to seeing you when we return!—Pastor Tom
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