Here’s part 3 of an interview I had last November with a student from Cal Baptist University. This section actually shifts from reading habits to other forms of education and enrichment available to pastors.
4. Do you attend professional meetings, seminars, and conferences? How often? How helpful are these?
Meetings and conferences are another great way to be sharpened, while also networking and establishing good Christian fellowship. Here are the meetings I typically attend:
Morongo Basin Evangelical Pastors Fellowship – President is a local EV Free pastor. We meet once a month for business and prayer, and we meet a second time in the month strictly for prayer. I am the secretary for this group and take all the minutes.
SBC pastors luncheon – once a month, our Director of Missions comes up to the high desert and the local pastors get together at Sizzlers with our families. Very informal.
SBC annual meetings – this year, I attended our associational, state, and national SBC annual meetings. These have not always been as enriching and biblically centered as I would prefer, but I saw a definite improvement this year. I also believe if young pastors are going to make a positive impact in our convention, we need to be supportive as team players and attend our regional meetings.
Bible conferences – as money and time allow, I like to attend other conferences. This year, I attended:
• Truth Life Conference at The Master’s College (speakers were John MacArthur, Erwin Lutzer, and Sinclair Ferguson). This conference is free for alumni.
• Shepherd’s Conference at Grace Community Church (speakers were John MacArthur, Al Mohler, Tom Pennington, Phil Johnson, and Rick Holland). I attended this by myself for spiritual renewal, but met up and ate meals with many pastor friends while there.
• Men Discipling Men Conference at The Master’s College (speakers were Carl Hargrove and Stuart Scott). I attended this with three men from our church as a way to expose and equip them in biblical counseling issues.
• CSBC Pastor’s Conference at Magnolia Avenue Baptist Church (speakers were Mark Dever, Jeff Lewis, and the presidents of IJM and Voice of the Martyrs)
In 2008, I attended Together for the Gospel in Louisville, which was outstanding.
On top of conferences I have attended, I’m also blessed to live in a day and age when a ton of free conference podcasts are available right over the internet. I like to listen to sermons and lectures on my MP3 player while exercising.