I’m going, virtually – by way of recording, to The Basics of Pastoral Ministry 2002, a conference in it’s third year, lead by Alistair Begg noted author and pastor of Parkside Church of Cleveland, Ohio and host of the radio program Truth For Life.
One of the things, as a bi-vocational pastor, I miss is the opportunity to attend Pastor’s conferences. When I was a full time pastor I had the privilege of attending a couple pastor’s conferences. As a full-timer I could go as a regular part of my ministry schedule. If I want to go to a meeting or conference now I would need to take a few days vacation from my day job. That would mean less vacation time with my family. I won’t do that to my wife or my children. My wife has earned that vacation time just as much as I have – even more so since she cares for and homeschools our children; her job is much harder than mine is. So these days when I begin thinking about how great it would be to go to a pastor’s conference for some encouragement and challenge I pull out a set of tapes I’ve purchased from a couple of my favorites conferences, some I’ve attended in person, some virtually.
I recently purchased an MP3 CD of The Basics 2002 Pastor’s Conference held in May. I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of my virtual pastor’s conference much like I’ve anticipated actually attending a pastor’s conference. I look forward to the many times I’ll listen to these recordings. I just finished listing to the set of tapes to the inaugural Basics 2000 for about the fifth time. That year the theme was expository preaching and each time I listen to the sessions I’m challenge by something different.
Attending a virtual conference isn’t just for bi-voactional pastors either. I know how demanding pastoring full time can be also. We all need encouragement and challenge occasionally. You can’t beat the cost of attending a virtual pastor’s conference either. Going to the real thing could set you back a couple hundred dollars, if not more. If you have a computer, and you must if you are reading this, you can listen to the MP3 CD of the Basics 2002 right there in your home or office. The MP3 CD is $18, the tapes are $25 and the CD’s are $30 and shipping is additional.
I certainly recommend attending a pastor’s conference if at all possible. The fellowship with other pastors is sweet. The food is usually great. There is often a Christian bookstore nearby. Certainly the time away from day to day ministry pressures can be good too. I hope to go to The Basics at Parkside some day, maybe when I’m full time again. But until then, the virtual pastor’s conference can’t be beat. Tell your family you want a virtual pastor’s conference for Father’s Day.