Using my time wisely means more to me than ever before. I’m realizing with greater intensity that I have just one life, and I want it to count for Christ. I’m never at a loss for how to fill my time, but I’m constantly choosing between good things and the best things.
One of the projects to which I’m delighted to devote my time is our annual Spiritual Leadership Conference. This is not just one more activity to fill a calendar; it is a highlight event designed to equip each person who attends to greater potential for service to the Lord. For our church, this conference is not one of many options on a calendar; I believe it is a “must have.” Following are 10 reasons why I believe we need Spiritual Leadership Conference:
1. We need preaching.
Spirit-filled preaching stirs the soul, challenges direction, and encourages decision. I remember, even as a young man, specific sermons I heard by Dr. G.B. Vick, Dr. Jack Hyles, Dr. Tom Malone, Dr. John R. Rice, Dr. Myron Cedarholm, Dr. Curtis Hutson, and many others. God used these messages to challenge me in specific areas, and I made decisions during them that still impact my life daily.
One of the greatest blessings to me at Spiritual Leadership Conference each year is the preaching I get to hear. I’m looking forward to messages from Dr. Sam Davison, Dr. Mike Norris, Dr. R.B. Ouellette, Dr. Bobby Roberson, Dr. David Gibbs, and others. (Click here for a full list of speakers.)
2. Preachers need encouragement.
God has put a love in my heart for pastors, and one of the joys of this conference is having an opportunity to encourage them. I have many pastors on my prayer list who I know are carrying heavy burdens and facing difficult decisions. Spiritual Leadership Conference is a time when our church can give a refreshing cup of cold water to pastors and encourage them to press on for the Lord.
3. Staff need to support the vision of their pastor.
It is easy for staff members to pursue their own agendas or set their own directional goals, but I always pray that church staff members who attend this conference will leave with a greater desire to fulfill their pastor’s vision. Many of the workshops are designed to help staff members understand the pastor’s heart, catch the pastor’s vision, and serve as an extension of the pastor’s ministry.
4. Church members need to work with their pastor.
Our prayer is that lay people who attend this conference will try to get the heart of their pastor and understand how to work in unity with him and in their local church. We believe that every member is to be a minister, and I pray that church members will grow through this conference in their heart for soulwinning and local church ministry.
5. We need revival.
My heart is broken for the need of revival in our churches. As one of the preachers at our Men & Boys Campout this past week said, “If we could just get our hearts right with God, pastors would be able to spend more time chasing sinners than chasing church members.” Four days of preaching and biblical sessions helps tender our hearts to the Lord and renews our passion for Him.
6. Spiritual gifts need to be developed.
The many workshops of this conference are designed to give specific help and direction for everyone—pastors, staff, deacons, lay people—to equip for local church ministry. These sessions help us develop our spiritual gifts up to the next level. (Click here for a full list of conference sessions.)
7. We need Christian fellowship.
For the pastors and church members diligently laboring in their churches, Spiritual Leadership Conference provides fellowship with other like-minded Christians who also faithfully serve in other cities. It is an opportunity to encourage one another in the Lord. In an era of ministry when success is measured by immediate results and biblical methods are often disregarded, this conference brings together men and women who love God’s work and are committed to serving God’s way. It’s overwhelming—and incredibly encouraging—to see so many other Christians who hold the same biblical philosophy of ministry and cherish the same biblical principles as you.
8. Teenagers need vision.
Teens need to know that the Christian life is both exciting and fulfilling. They need to catch the vision that they can be part of something great. There are still many cities to capture for Christ and mission fields yet untouched. Teens who have a heart for God and a vision for what God would do through them could claim these areas with the Gospel.
The world bombards our teens with the idea that rap music, faddish clothes, cool electronics, and Hollywood lifestyles are the picture of greatness and are worthy goals to aim for. This conference will be a challenge to teens to give their lives to that which is eternal. Our prayer is that they will leave knowing the joy of being part of a great network—a team of those who are living for true greatness.
9. Young churches need an example.
I remember vividly developing my first Sunday school lessons, planning a first youth activity, choosing a first staff member, conducting a first deacon’s meeting…and a hundred other “firsts” involved in pastoring a young church. I’m so thankful for the mentors God gave me in those early years who freely shared their counsel and wisdom, and it is now my delight to assist church planters across the country with these early steps in building a church.
Spiritual Leadership Conference provides an opportunity for leaders of young churches to glean from the collective wisdom of preachers who have already traveled down the path they are just beginning. Pastors of young churches will be able to catch a vision from these men and from Lancaster Baptist Church of what God can do in their ministry.
10. America needs a revival.
My heart is so heavy for our country. Sin abounds everywhere, and we truly are in desperate shape. America needs a spiritual revival more than she needs any form of political or economic reform. We definitely need strong Christian leaders in our government, but more than that, we need strong churches making a difference in every community. I pray that through this conference, the Lord will reignite each of our hearts to pray for revival in our nation, and I pray He will stir our spirits to increased effort in reaching our communities with the Gospel through soulwinning and new church plants.
I hope you are already making plans to attend Spiritual Leadership Conference this year (July 11–14). For conference details or to register online, visit http://www.lancasterbaptist.org/slc/. Or you can call the church at 661.946.4662.
I’m excited about this year’s theme of “By His Spirit,” and I’m looking forward to seeing what God will do in each of our lives and ministries—by His Spirit!
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