Tomorrow and Saturday, October 25-26, we will host our first annual Mile High Preaching Conference (soon known as the Mile High Pastors Conference). Dr. Hershael York will be our special guest speaker, bringing a pastoral experience with an academic foundation that will help us preach the Scripture engagingly and enduringly.
So why go through this effort? It’s a valid question. The proliferation of sermons and conferences recorded and archived on the Internet makes some to believe that the days of going to conferences are over—now the conferences may come to them!
Yet, here we are. Offering a conference. Why?
- We can focus. I could watch conferences livestreamed on my computer (and I hope the MHPC will have that capability soon), but when I do that, I multitask. The speaker is in the background while I outline sermons, punch out emails, pause in case someone needs to talk, etc. Granted, with smartphones at conferences now, we bring our tasks with us. That’s another story. But this format allows more for a time to put away distractions and concentrate on the topic at hand.
- We understand the importance of community. Conferences like these provide opportunities for other pastors to come together to fellowship, encourage, sharpen, network, and challenge. This cannot happen watching this over a screen in one’s office or kitchen table.
- Preaching takes place among an assembly, and a preaching conference should do the same. The understanding of preaching is that of proclamation. As Jason Meyer points out in his new book Preaching: A Biblical Theology, preaching is a stewardship received from God to herald out to our listeners so they will have an encounter with the living God. While many wish for a discussion and a give-and-take during this time, the biblical understanding of the congregational assembly is that a preacher preaches the Word and we listen. Our minds are renewed, our lives are transformed (Romans 12:1-2). And as our lives are renewed and rejuvenated as pastors, that will only help those who are in our flock. They will receive the benefits of a Spirit-charged pastor.
- This helps forge continuing partnerships in ministry. When I left our state convention last week, I connected with friends such as our DOM Bob Ryan, our state missions director Jim Misloski, fellow pastors like Mark Hallock and Kevin Hasenack, and many other fellows that minister in my area. But I had a chance to meet others who share my conviction and passion for preaching and ministry–and now we are friends in the faith. We will partner in ministry here in Colorado for, I pray, years to come.
What about you? What are some benefits you see in going physically and personally to a conference, over and against watching it online? Please understand, I am grateful for this technology. I will watch certain conferences when time and money permit otherwise. But if I had a choice (and time and money), a personally attended conference is far better.
Agree? Disagree? Thoughts?