Pastors' Conference Reflections
Pastor Dan, Toph, Frank, Steve, and I are on the other side of the 35th Bethlehem Conference for Pastors. It was a rich time of worship, prayer, fellowship, preaching, and teaching. Over 700 pastors and ministry leaders Assembled at the River Centre in St. Paul, coming from all sorts of ministry stories that include your fair share of joys, struggles, pains, victories, sorrows, aspirations, victories, and defeats. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love singing with you all when we gather for worship on Sundays. Our time is a weekly family gathering that is a rhythm necessary for the joy and progress of my faith, and since I am talking about us, the same applies to you. Worship, both in song and over the word, with ministry leaders in the trenches, though, is a powerful experience! The topic of the conference was the doctrine of humanity. What is man? Don’t think of males first and foremost in that question. Think Psalm 8:3–4: When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon, and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
The question that the conference aimed to discuss was what is man from a humanity standpoint? Who are we as humans? This is one of the central questions of the day, from understanding males and females as gendered beings to transhumanism. I walked away from the conference, realizing how important it is to have a robust theological anthropology — a vigorous doctrine of what it means to be human. Here’s a glance at some notes I took. You should ask Pastor Toph, Dan, Frank, and Steve what resonated with them!
1 Tim 6:17–19: 17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. John Piper started the sessions by talking about the final condition of humanity. When it is all said and done, and Jesus has returned, and we are in the new heavens and new earth, what will that be like? It will be indeed life! He asked why this question was necessary. Because “an unknown end will not be loved.” If our final condition in Christ is known and loved, “it is the love of the end that gets every wheel [now] going.”
Help your people love the appearing of Jesus.
There will be no boredom in the new heavens and new earth.
The Adam-shaped problem is solved by the Jesus-shaped solution.
The treachery of the first Adam is undone through the scandalous death of the second Adam.
We are not called to agree with God’s truth concerning males and females but to love God’s truth about it.
Complimentary pairs are what the story of the Bible is about.
Sin is the hatred of God in our despising of our creatureliness.
Sin is stupid.
Be more saved than you are smart.
Christians should be the happiest of all people.
Teach your people that they were made to be for the praise of God’s glorious grace.
Teach your people that God’s mission for the church is to make disciples.
The conference was a warm time of worship in the cold winter months of Jan and Feb! I was wonderfully reminded of how much the Triune God cares for those whose call is to care for the church!
Looking forward to worshipping together on Sunday,