For the second year we are hosting the Bethlehem Conference for Pastors here at the church April 13-16. I hope you consider this conference an extension of your ministry. I hope you see it as a way that we spread the vision of God and Missions that inspires us and grips us at Bethlehem.
What is the conference?
Here is the answer from the Conference brochure:
Rooted in the Scriptures as God’s infallible Word, and dedicated to revival and reformation in pastoral ministry, The Bethlehem Conference for Pastors is a gathering of church leaders for serious thought, honest discussion, and earnest prayer concerning crucial Biblical teachings in historical and contemporary perspective.
What are the aims?
(This is how to pray! Just turn each of these into a prayer request for all who come.)
- Theology – To stir up serious theological consideration of the biblical truths that Puritans liked to call the “doctrines of grace.”
- Encouragement – To revive the spirit of the downcast and to strengthen each other’s hands in the work of the gospel.
- Preaching – To promote earnest, powerful preaching that inspires in God’s people a love for the truth and a life of obedience.
- Missions – To advance the cause of frontier missions through the incentives of sovereign grace.
- Worship – To promote God-centered, Bible-based, heartfelt worship in the churches.
What is the theme this year?
The theme is "The Achievement of the Cross". Our keynote speaker on this theme will be Roger Nicole of Gordon Conwell Divinity School. He will speak three times:
- “The Biblical Variety of Language”
- “The Unifying Key, Substitution”
- “The Scope: Efficacy or Universality?”
My prayer is that the pastors would have their thinking clarified in regard to what we should say about the death of Christ in evangelism and that we would have our hearts enflamed with love to the One who loved us and gave himself for us.
Who else will be speaking?
Kent Hughes, the pastor of College Church in Wheaton, Illinois will speak on “Pastoral Success and the Cross of Christ: A Contemporary Crisis.” The aim here is to encourage the pastors that “Faithfulness is better than life” and better than “success” as some count success. You can buy Kent Hughes’ book about this matter at the bookstore in the Fireside Room.
John Devries, the president of Bibles for India, will speak on “The Glory of Missions is Death: Reflections on Galatians 6:14” This will give explicit expression to our commitment that all theology serves the mission of the church to reach the hidden peoples and the lost in our midst.
I will give one message called: “Brothers, We Must Not Mind a Little Suffering: Meditation on the life of Charles Simeon.” I hope to strengthen the hands of those who may find great opposition or affliction in their ministry.
The long term effects of any conference depends on whether the truth and power of the messages and the conversations abides. Will it be a momentary high? Or will it be a life-long influence and source of strength and guidance? That depends in great measure on the prayer support that the Conference has now and in the time after the Conference as well. Please join me in asking the Great Shepherd to do a mighty and lasting work in the shepherds of his flock for the good of his sheep and for the glory of his name.
In the service of the Servants,