I'm looking forward to the upcoming Clearnote Fellowship conference for church officers—elders, deacons, pastors, and those aspiring). I hope you are too! Register now—it's only a couple weeks away.
Three years ago we were sent to Indianapolis to plant Clearnote Church, Indianapolis. Since then I've been to many gatherings of pastors and church leaders, some small and others large. Some groups were only church-planters. Some were Reformed. Some weren't. My personal benefit from these meetings has been a decidedly mixed bag.
Yes it is good to see men working to spread the Reformed doctrine of Scripture among church leaders. Talking to others facing the same church-planting challenges can be helpful. Sharing prayer requests with other pastors and asking their counsel has strengthened me.
Still, it's been my experience that nobody at these gatherings truly benefits from being there unless a man brings God's word to bear on us. In other words, I've noticed without preaching it's just a bunch of talk. The air gets stuffy with technical truths. We swell with self-importance. The room glows with plious patitudes. It's a glorious sight.
But it's a waste of time. What we needed was preaching. Preaching pops our blimps and hot air balloons.
So here's the point... preaching is what you'll get at the Clearnote Fellowship Church Officers Conference. You won't leave patting yourself on the back, nor will you leave in despair. Those aren't the fruit of the Holy Spirit's work. You will leave strengthened. You will leave encouraged. You will leave admonished and encouraged. You will be preached to.
No surprise then that the particular theme of this year's conference is Preach the Word. What a joy to have my work of preaching be helped by other men's preaching! As I said before, I've been to plenty of gatherings where there was a lack of preaching. I'm not just complaining—I'm confessing. I regularly fail to preach when I should. I need somebody to preach to me about my failure to preach boldly and faithfully.
What about you?
I'm not just talking about a sermon from a pastor Sunday morning, although that is certainly part of it. I'm talking to you deacons and elders and the preaching you need to do as well. I'm talking about small groups, prayer meetings, Sunday school classes, and family devotions. I'm talking about your Christian businessmen's meetings and your employer's multicultural diversity conference calls. I'm talking about your city council meetings. And of course there are still those local pastors meetings I mentioned before. Some of these meetings don't have time for a "sermon." Others of them already have two "sermons." But what is needed in each of these circumstances is preaching--bringing God's word to bear on the specific people present and their specific temptations, needs, rebellions, fears, strengths and weaknesses.
Pastors cannot do all of this work, nor are they supposed to. This work cannot all be done from the pulpit, nor is it supposed to. Remember the deacons Stephen and Phillip? We know more about the preaching of the deacons in Acts than we know about their care for the widows.
Max Curell rarely steps into the pulpit, but I remember when I heard him described as always preaching. It made complete sense. He preaches to everybody who steps foot inside his office, whether they are a church member, a pastors college student, or the insurance rep. He will be preaching at the conference on the topic of preaching as a sinful man.
Don't we feel our need to grow and be strengthened in this? I certainly do. So join me and register for the conference now. It's just a few weeks away, on February 21-22. I can't wait to get back to Bloomington to sit under the preaching of the Word. It energizes, encourages and strengthens me for the work more than you can know—unless, that is, you came last year.
I hope I'll see you there!