In a few days nearly two thousand people from around the world will descend on Faith Church and the Lafayette community for a week-long training event known as the Biblical Counseling Training Conference. While it is true that only a handful of Faith Church pastors and members will be involved in the actual teaching, it is important for all of us to understand how and why there is a place for every person in our church family to play an important role in this event.
Bathing the Conference in Prayer
A stewardship of this magnitude is far beyond the natural abilities of any or all of us. We desperately need the Lord’s strength, wisdom, and grace as we seek to serve our conference guests well. That means that, if you are sitting at your computer screen, operating a fork lift, rocking an infant, or running on a treadmill, you can participate meaningfully in this conference. Simply pause and ask for God’s blessing on our efforts. Please pray that the Lord would give humility as we teach and patience as we answer questions. Ask the Lord for strength and safety. Pray that Jesus would be exalted and His Word held high. Even if you are nowhere near our campuses physically during the week, you can be an integral part of our efforts by going to the throne of grace and asking our Lord for help in our time of need.
Continuing to be a Faithful Church Member
The question many of our guests will bring is whether our emphasis on the sufficiency of Scripture and progressive sanctification genuinely produces long-term followers of Christ. Our guests may interact with one of your co-workers or neighbors without you ever knowing it. We often hear reports of conversations at restaurants or local stores where a conferee hears about a member of Faith Church who has stood out in some way because of his/her faithful lifestyle.
Paul explained to Titus that this was “adorning the doctrine of God.” There is nothing better than one of our teachers talking about a biblical principle during the day and then one of our guests seeing or hearing about that same concept out in our community later that evening.
Please do not ever underestimate the powerful example of a changed and changing life. Faith is blessed with men and women who have been a joyful part of our ministry for 10, 20, 30, 40 or more years. Such persons may never teach a lecture — but their faithful life affirms the truth of God’s Word in a way that will make a lasting impact on our guests.
Serving with Joy
As I travel around the world I am often told by church leaders that their people simply will not serve the Lord. The expectation is that the paid staff is to do the work of the ministry, but this opposes the biblical principle that pastors were given to “equip the saints to do the work of the ministry” (Ephesians 4:11-16).
When someone from Faith takes an afternoon off work to empty trash cans or carry books or perform one of the hundreds of behind-the-scenes tasks necessary to keep a conference running, our guests notice. They can hardly believe that a teenage boy would give up a vacation day from school to serve at his church. They are shocked to see a stockbroker with an apron on serving lunch or a widow helping in the bookstore.
We all know that the proof is in the pudding, and our conference guests are constantly sampling the pudding. Your willingness to serve will be a great encouragement to Christian leaders as they contemplate how these biblical principles can be applied in their particular contexts of ministry.
Telling Your Story
Look for opportunities to tell our guests how you and your family are changing and growing. Our culture loves stories and there is nothing better than a real life example of God helping a person change. It’s “progressive sanctification with skin on.”
Please don’t fall into the trap of believing that it only matters if the change has been dramatic. Not everyone needs to be delivered from drug abuse or some bizarre habit. Garden variety change and growth has the same potential to glorify God and encourage our guests.
Continue to Have a Visionary Outlook
Our guests will love to hear the stories of the Kooler Keg and the Senior Living Community. They will sit in our community centers and ask the Lord to help them creatively reach their communities for Christ. Tours will be given of Vision of Hope, Faith Christian School and Bethany Farms.
We hear stories all the time of men and women who left one of our training events challenged and encouraged to attempt to reach their Jerusalem, with greater passion and vision than ever before. Your willingness to attempt great things for God encourages others to do the same.
It Takes All of Us
The BCTC is a family affair in the best sense of that term. Let’s ask the Lord to use this event to draw us closer together as we all fulfill our role to train and encourage others.