Howdy, all! I don’t want to preempt the presentations of upcoming conferences by going into details here, but I know so many of you in my area are interested in how the Regional Conference went, so I thought I would make some quick comments.
This one for our region was well attended, by pastors, elders and deacons from Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and perhaps elsewhere. (I can hear someone now: “You forgot my state!” My apologies!) Seven more are planned in the near future for the remaining regions.
In short: it was fantastic. Dr. Douglas Winnail and Mr. Davy Crockett gave us a full plate of meaty discussion and education while working hard to be very accessible to each of us every day of the conference for personal discussion and just plain getting to know everyone better, as well as letting us get to know them better. From the opening videotaped presentation by Mr. Roderick C. Meredith given during the recent Council of Elders meeting, to the final discussion late Monday afternoon, the conference was incredibly profitable.
The comments and questions from the floor were very helpful, as well, and there was ample opportunity to bring up questions or to make comments about individual experience. In fact, the contributions and questions from the attendees was one of the most dynamic parts of the conference and really added to the overall profitability. I know from much experience with such things that personal interaction is so much more effective than e-mails and letters, and Dr. Winnail and Mr. Crockett did a fantastic job and making sure that there was a lot of that.
Being a more effective tool for taking God’s truth to the world was a major element of our discussions, as well. And even though the topics discussed weren’t related directly to the telecast, as a presenter I found a lot of helpful information that I can apply immediately and that I really believe will make our telecasts more effective tools in God’s hands. I was encouraged that while we are experiencing some amazing fruit and growth in the work, rather than sitting on our laurels the success seems to have energized everyone all the more to do even better! We were reminded that Jesus Christ wants us to “bear MUCH fruit” (John 15:8), and while we see the Work growing in effectiveness and impact, no one seems interested in a spirit of complacency!
And we were reminded, as well, that the growth we are receiving comes from God and not really from our own resources (Zech. 4:6), and that without Christ we can do nothing (John 15:4-5).
At the conference’s end, a number of people — a few deacons, in particular — told me that they really felt energized and that they were looking forward to going back to their congregations and serving more profitably. I certainly share the sentiment! That really was the theme of the conference, in my opinion: How to better be able to serve God’s people, and actively equipping yourself to do that. The conference was very profitable in that regard, and I am thankful that God makes such opportunities like these available to us. Our congregations are God’s flock (1 Peter 5:2), and it is a humbling privilege to get to spend your life in the service of the people He loves so dearly.
For those of you who were praying for the success of the conference, you have my heartfelt thanks! It is obvious to me that God heard you — His presence at the conference and His influence on its contents, discussions, and effectiveness made all the difference. Thank you for the time you spent on your knees being part of the team! And my thanks, as well, to Dr. Winnail and Mr. Crockett who really acted on the sentiment that Paul expressed in 1 Thessalonians 2:8 —
“So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.”
I’m excited about sharing more details from the conference when I see you all at services if our two elders haven’t told you before I get there (since I will be out of town the next two Sabbaths). Suffice it to say that the conference was inspiring, and I’m looking forward to rolling up my sleeves another notch and helping all of us get to work!