This year's annual meeting of the California Southern Baptist Convention is coming up on October 25-27 at Clovis Hills Community Church. But many young pastors are wondering, "Why bother attending? Why would I add another business meeting to my busy schedule? How can I justify the travel expenses?" These are sincere questions, and they need to be answered.
Young pastors need to know what goes on at these meetings, and why it's worth attending. Here are five reasons I can think of...
- Preaching. The pastors conference is scheduled to coincide each year with the annual meeting. This is your chance to get away, sit with your wife, and have your soul refreshed with some good expository preaching. I must admit, I haven't always been impressed with the conference themes and preachers. But it seems to be improving each year. Jeff Mooney did a fantastic job as president last year improving the quality of this event, and Bret Capranica has put together another great program this year. We can expect more of the same from Chris Morgan, who will be serving as president in 2011. During the annual meeting, we also have the privilege of hearing sermons from the Executive Director, the currently elected President, and one guest preacher.
- Fellowship. "Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." Pastors need time with one another for encouragement and edification. One of the key benefits of the annual meeting is precious time together with other pastors, sharing prayer requests, exchanging ideas, and forging new partnerships. Spare moments in the exhibit halls and around the meal table are priceless times of fellowship.
- Missions. Missions is the main reason we partner together as Southern Baptists. International missions. Church planting. Disaster relief. These are the great goals of our Cooperative Program. The annual meeting gives us a chance to hear how God has been at work over the last year and how we can participate more effectively in the year ahead. In 2010, we're in store for a special treat on Tuesday night, when dozens of new IMB missionaries will be commissioned to full time missions work.
- Books. I've heard through the grapevine that several free books will be given away at this year's pastors conference. Look for quality titles from Crossway, Lifeway, and Desiring God. Plus, the Lifeway bookstore is on the premises to let you browse and buy some other great items.
- Organization. Though less exciting, this is still an important reason. Every organization must have a structure and way of conducting business. "All things must be done properly and in an orderly manner" (1 Cor. 14:40). Just as staff meetings and congregational meetings are a necessity in the local church, so our state has to conduct business somehow to approve its budget and appoint leaders. We should be thankful for the transparency of these meetings and a chance to participate. Thankfully, the business items and reports have been streamlined over the past couple of years, cutting down on the tedium.
Walter Price has called for a “new normal” in our convention, and he needs our support if there is to be any long-term change. The time is now. Let's help make a difference for the glory of God and the spread of the gospel in California.
Below are some of the highlights of this year's pastors conference and annual meeting, or you can click here to view the full program for the annual meeting.
Monday, Oct. 25
6:45 p.m. – Music - Jeff Mooney
7:00 p.m. – The Local Church, Preaching, and Our Mission – Roger Spradlin
7:45 p.m. – The Painful Side of Local Church Ministry – Jeff Iorg
8:40 p.m. – Upholding God’s Truth in Our Churches, Extending God’s Truth in Our World – A Conversation – Jeff Iorg, Roger Spradlin, Stephen Jones; Chris Morgan; Walter Price officiating
Tuesday, Oct. 26
8:45 a.m. Welcome/Music
9:05 a.m. – The Local Church & Effective Pastoral Ministry - Stephen Jones
9:55 a.m. – God’s Glory and the Local Church – Chris Morgan
10:45 a.m. – The Local Church and Finances – a Ministry Resource for Pastors – Jim Rickard
11:00 a.m. – The Local Church and Leadership Development – Jeff Iorg1:15 p.m. - Annual Meeting begins
1:45 p.m. - "Declare His Glory Among the Nations" Theme Interpretation by Johnny Mendez
4:00 p.m. - Annual Sermon by Matt Spradlin
4:45 p.m. - Disaster Relief dinner
6:30 p.m. - IMB Commisssioning Service
Wednesday, Oct. 27
8:45 a.m. - Welcome/Music
9:10 a.m. - Executive Director's Message
10:45 a.m. - President's Message
12:00 p.m. - Close in Prayer
Free childcare with great crafts and activities is available for kids in grade school and under, so there's really no reason not to come. For more information on childcare and housing, click here.
Hope to see you in Clovis in a couple weeks!