By Mike Hess
As I look back over the past couple of decades, I’m reminded of great privileges and opportunities God has blessed me with. Three of them stand out as having an enormous impact in my development as an individual and as a pastor: attending and completing seminary, being certified as a Biblical counselor, and attending conferences. I’m incredibly indebted to the churches I’ve pastored for enabling me to attend conferences that equipped me as a pastor and, more importantly, as a follower of the Savior.
If you’re a pastor, I empathize with you—determining which conference to attend is a daunting task. Today the average pastor has hundreds of options when it comes to spending his conference budget. Please allow me to make the case for you and your family to attend the 2019 GARBC Conference, June 25–28, in Des Moines, Iowa. Consider the following reasons for attending this year’s conference:
The Conference Theme
Our desire with this year’s theme, “The Essence of Worship,” is to have a robust and clearly Biblically defined understanding of worship. In Scripture the commitment to worship is never debated. Instead, it’s commanded and expected of God’s people. We pray that through faithful exposition of Scripture, our longing to magnify our great God will grow.
Exceptional Expositional Preaching
Our lineup of speakers features men who are deeply committed to preaching that is driven by the text of Scripture. You can be confident that the subject of worship will be derived from the text and not from preferences, emotion, or culture. Our high view of Scripture translates into a high view of preaching. We trust that you’ll be refreshed and encouraged as speakers proclaim the Word.
Relevant and Practical Modules
Topics for modules will include women’s ministry, forgiveness, evangelism, pastoring in small and large church contexts, chaplaincy, worship-service planning, and the technology aspect of ministry. We desire to connect our deeply held theological convictions to the practical issues of everyday ministry.
Some of my closest friendships in ministry have developed as a result of state and national GARBC conferences. We don’t just share a conference venue; we share life in Christ. This type of friendship goes beyond the conference setting. The conference provides opportunities to connect with choice servants of God who share a kindred spirit of ministry zeal.
Doctrinal Unity in a Day of Drifting Convictions
What a blessing it is to be with so many believers who love the Lord, commit to the local church, and take a firm doctrinal stand as Regular Baptists. This is something we should never take lightly. When we come together at our annual conference, we are gathering as believers who are committed to Biblical truth. We do not run from addressing theological compromise. Our conference is a time when we address with doctrinal clarity, compassion, love, and precision the dangerous trends on today’s theological landscape.
Something for Everyone in the Family
We rejoice that our conference is multigenerational. Everyone from retired pastors and wives to newborn babies will attend. An exceptional and competent conference staff offers activities for teens as well as free childcare. Many conferees have commented to me that attending the GARBC conference is one of their annual family vacations. We hope that this can become a tradition for you and your family as well.
You’ll have opportunities to learn about the different ministry arms of the GARBC. See firsthand how God is growing our international partnerships. Welcome newly endorsed chaplains. Hear about the Biblically faithful resources that RBP offers to help your local church disciple believers. Listen to personal testimonies from those who have received funds and consultation for revitalization and church planting. You’ll see how our fellowship has compassionately come alongside hurting churches and generously given to them in their time of need.
I realize you have several good options when it comes to conferences and that other conferences can be beneficial. However, it’s my conviction that God has sovereignly led you and your local church to be a part of our fellowship. By attending the GARBC conference, you make the most of the stewardship that you’ve been entrusted with as a fellowshipping church. What makes our conference unique? The fact that this is your fellowship! Your participation is key to our moving forward to “Making Disciples through Healthy Local Churches.”
Please register soon (www.garbcConference.org) and make arrangements to attend. All first-time attendees and church planters receive free registration. If your church’s budget is tight, God has blessed us with funds to help those who need financial assistance to attend the conference.
Christina and I, along with members of the Resource Center team, hope to see you in Des Moines this June!
Mike Hess is national representative of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches.