The target audience for our pastors conference is church leaders. We call it a conference for pastors, but in the small print it is for church leaders. We don't make anybody show their credentials at the door.
Our goal is to encourage pastors. The way we go about encouraging them and strengthening their hands to press on in the work is by focusing on theological issues rather than how-to issues. It's not a conference mainly on how to do church. It is mainly a conference about who God is and what are his ways in the world.
So it's reflective and theological. It involves a lot of singing, worship, prayer, and a big bookstore. We love to get pastors together and have them meet each other, know each other, and strengthen each other's hands in the work.
It is an explicitly reformed conference, so the supremacy of God is central and the doctrines of grace are cherished.
For 21 years we have had exactly the same framework:
- A keynote speaker who speaks three times on a theme,
- A pastoral speaker who brings that theme to bear on the nitty gritty of the pastoral life,
- A missions speaker who gives a global perspective and kicks us in the pants so that we don't just do this stuff for our own little church and community but care about the unreached peoples of the world
- And then I bring a biographical study on a noteworthy Christian.
This seems to be helpful to the men when they come, and I love the fellowship myself.