Have you ever been frustrated when you’re partnering with an organization on some important work, but felt like both groups didn’t have any idea what the other was doing or passionate about? Enter the CAN Conference. I’m happily participating in this today and tomorrow, connecting with churches and agencies passionate about global missions. They already have dates for next year’s conference. Maybe your church could engage to make some progress on its global missions vision.
I’m excited to be able to participate in the For the Church Conference August 31-September 1 at my alma mater, MBTS, in Kansas City. Here’s the lineup:
I’m privileged to attend the 2014 Together For The Gospel conference. This is a conference I’ve attended since its inception in 2006, so this is my fifth time attending (it’s held every other year). This year, I’m attending with one of our elders, a friend our church supports in India and another friend in ministry from St. Louis.
We began our journey on Sunday and finally arrived late Monday. We grabbed supper with another couple our church supports to check in on their ministry. We took in a pre-conference called Band of Bloggers. This conference included some rock star bloggers from my neck of the evangelical world and discussed how platform building relates to the Gospel.
The afternoon session began with Mark Dever introducing the conference theme (Being Unashamed of the Gospel) and encouraging us through Isaiah 36-37, that God won’t abandon us in the amazing task of making His fame known to others. Thabiti Anyabwile continued our afternoon session by helping us see how heaven rejoices in the news of repenting sinners from Luke 15. Our evening session was Albert Mohler holding relentless to the exclusivity of Christ, specifically in Acts 4.
Some other highlights included seeing old friends. Gatherings like this assemble some of my best friends in ministry. So being able to connect with them and make new friends is a tremendous encouragement. The singing (7000 mostly MEN!) of songs old and new is always a highlight. One song that stuck out to me last night was All Creatures Of Our God and King. There were two new verses introduced for that song:
Now that all the conference audio/video is available for free online, here’s another link to my recap of my time there:
Part 1 – visiting Bethlehem Baptist Church on Sunday AM
Part 2 – Doug Wilson Monday PM message on Father Hunger in the Home
Part 3 – Crawford Loritts and Darrin Patrick’s messages
Part 4 – Piper’s bio of Ryle and Wilson again on Father Hunger in the Church
Part 5 – Ramez Atallah on the Gospel in Egypt
Still feel really blessed by this opportunity. Hope my notes help capture some of this for you.
Yes, the conference will be able to be watched live.
The 2011 National Conference page will give you more info. Hope to see you there.
Now that I’m back from the 2011 Desiring God Conference for Pastors, here are some reflections on each of the messages.
Session 1 – Cultivating Private Prayer as a Pastor – Joel Beeke
This was a great kick off session, full of quotes and much practicality. I really felt conviction of my lack of prayerlessness through this sermon. His two paths of application were Take Hold of Self and Take Hold of God. Matt Perman tweeted that this was the best sermon on prayer he’s ever heard. I am in relative agreement, although this wasn’t an exposition as much as a topical unfolding of the subject of prayer.
Session 2 – Helping Your People Discover the Praying Life – Paul Miller
If you’ve read Miller’s book, A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World, then this session will be a helpful, one talk summary of all that this book teaches. It was really encouraging as well.
Session 3 – Prayer as a Way of Walking in Love: A Personal Journey – Francis Chan
This talk was a testimony of sorts as to how Chan has experienced answered prayer in his walk with the Lord. Great question in this talk was “Do you still believe God answers prayer?” Very motivational to the practice of prayer.
I love these biographical messages by Piper each year. This year’s didn’t disappoint. He weaved what made this young man burn with passion for God by showing his conversion and preparation for a young life. It ended up looking at the place of prayer in McCheyne’s life. Again, very encouraging.
Session 5 – Leading Family Worship – Joel Beeke
This talk had 4 goals: to lay out a paradigm for family worship, to discuss the practice of it, to lead us to preach on this and to consider more effective ways of training others in this. This talk was replete with practical ways one could go about practicing family worship.
Session 6 – Unreached Peoples and the Power of Prayer – Jerry Rankin
Another highlight of the DG conference is the missions talk or how does the subject of the conference relate to the fulfilling of the Great Commission. Rankin gave a call for us to go about obeying the Great Commission and realize that as we pray for the nations God might be changing our hearts to go ourselves.
Session 7 – Q & A – Speakers Panel
The conference typically wraps up with a session dealing with some questions the conference inspired. Helpful way to review and hear about the subject matter again.
Overall Reflection: I loved attending this conference. DG always does a great job of leading us in singing, giving us opportunities to pray and helping us think through subject matters. I personally would have liked to see more Biblical expositions, but found the messages helpful. I think, also, that sometimes commendations were confused with commands. It’s easy for pastors (especially) to treat applications as matters of obeying or disobeying what God has actually said. There was some blurring of that. However, these are minor assessments. Overall, I know that I need to be about the work of prayer in ministry and this conference helped give me avenues to flesh this out more in my life.
Today was the busy day at the conference. I started off with a breakout session featuring David Michael of Children Desiring God, which helped reaffirm my passion for training the next generation. I had a chance to visit with David and he was encouraging about things our church is doing to help children prize Jesus.
The 1st AM session featured Eric Mason from Epiphany Fellowship in Philly. (Notes, Audio, Video) His message was to pastors on having joy in suffering, especially as it relates to sanctification. It was a compelling call to this end.
After lunch, Piper gave his biography of C.S. Lewis (Manuscript, Audio). There were lots of zingers in this talk. Piper showed why he appreciated Lewis so much in his summary: he had an awesome experiential joy and a determined hold on objective truth.
After Piper’s talk, I was able to sit down with Matt Perman, Director of Strategy for Desiring God, and talk about vision planning, BHAG’s, and other things related to being organized and leading in terms of big picture direction. There were lots of practical helps in this time.
Finally, after supper, we were back for Sam Storms final session: Killing Sin with Christian Hedonism (Notes, Audio). This session got practical, again encouraging us to have joy in suffering. The session ended with Bethlehem’s Elders and Pastors praying for individual needs of the pastors present. Very meaningful.
Back at hotel, we are working to prep to leave tomorrow.