The first of seven local ministerial conferences was conducted on Monday and Tuesday, November 14-15, in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The first of seven local ministerial conferences was conducted on Monday and Tuesday, November 14-15, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Topics of general utility for ministers and their wives were covered by limited lecture time and lots of discussion time.
The theme for the conference was taken from 2 Corinthians:1:24—to be “helpers of your joy...” The following themes were discussed:
How to manage your time —How do you find time to prepare a sermon every week, visit scattered brethren over several church areas and do everything else you are asked to do? How do you avoid guilt and burn out? How do you balance your personal life, prayer and Bible study?
Church Services and Bible Studies —How to plan a balanced spiritual diet throughout the year. How to come up with sermon and Bible Study ideas. Many ideas were shared on how to accomplish this.
Marriage and Divorce —We discussed the high view of marriage and how we need to preach and teach strongly about marriage. We reviewed the new marriage program—the preventive maintenance needed to build strong marriages. All aspects of the subject of divorce were discussed. Vernon Hargrove, the chair of the divorce and remarriage committee, was present and able to add much information to the discussion.
Helping the grieving —The ministry is generally the first contact with those who are grieving over a loss. How to comfort a family that has lost a child or baby, how to comfort at a funeral or in the hospital and many other circumstances were covered. Numerous suggestions were brought up and discussed.
Maintaining doctrinal integ-rity —How to check and verify the accuracy of what you are teaching. Many of the false ideas that are making the rounds were addressed. We face the same battle as the apostles in the first century. We stressed the importance of teaching as you have been taught.
Counseling —Gary Antion covered general tips on counseling and counseling concerns for pastors and elders. He made recommendations of resources that would help the ministry to understand and deal with certain situations such as abuse, self-injury, suicide, marital and pre-marital counseling, etc. He mentioned that the ministry is not second-rate when it comes to counseling. Professional counselors are trained in how to recognize problems, but the ministry has a sound mind, right values and standards to help people balance their lives and understand how to live.
Administrative issues —Chris Rowland covered all of the administrative duties that he performs in the Ministerial and Member Services area. He was able to address and answer questions dealing with various reports and administrative issues.
Mediating Disputes and Finding Mentors —The conference ended with discussions on mediating disputes and finding mentors. How do we deal with conflict between members, ministers or ministers and members? As a minister who do you counsel with and how do we mentor the next generation in the Church?
The ministry and their wives gathered on Sunday evening for a dessert reception. This provided an excellent way to kick off the meetings by fellowshipping and getting acquainted with everyone there.
This conference used a different format than most that you may have attended in the past. This was based upon the fact that we have many new men who have been appointed as pastors. Many of them have had distinguished careers in the business world, but have suddenly been asked to shift gears and pastor churches. As a result many questions have arisen concerning how to handle various responsibilities and duties as a full-time or partial pastor.
The general approach in past conferences was to have a number of lectures with limited discussion. This conference focused on subjects that many ministers had asked about and wanted clarification and direction. Consequently, the emphasis was more upon open discussion with the opportunity to ask questions, seek clarification and give input. Victor Kubik and Roy Holladay worked as a team to address or moderate these discussions.
The conference was truly successful and inspiring to all who attended. Listening to the concerns and difficulties faced by other ministers and their wives helped to bond the group together and to establish a love and appreciation for each other.