Friday, February 6, 2009

Thoughts on the Desiring God Pastor's Conference

Dear Grace Church,

As many of you know Pastor Daniel and I (along with the Coopers and Joe Mancuso) attended the Desiring God Conference for Pastors earlier this week (Monday – Wednesday). The theme for the conference was, Commending Christ: The Pastor, the Church, and the Perishing (Evangelism). I strongly encourage you to consider watching or listening to some of the sessions. I believe that they will edify your soul as they did ours.

We heard Mark Dever (the keynote speaker) talk to us in the first session about getting the gospel right. He admonished us to be clear on what the gospel is and is not.

In the second session (which we all agreed was the most impacting) Matt Chandler called us to rightly bring the gospel to our own congregation. He talked about the fact that many in the church have been given an insufficient gospel.

The next session was directed to full time pastors. In it Mark Dever addressed some of the common pitfalls that pastors tend to fall into regarding their own personal evangelism efforts.

On Tuesday afternoon, in the fourth session, John Piper shared about evangelism from the life and ministry of George Whitefield. There has perhaps never been a more constant or persistent evangelist since the apostle Paul. Piper told us that Whitefield spoke the Gospel (not counting preparation or travel time) between 40 and 60 hours/week for over 30 years!

In the fifth session Mark Dever spoke to us about evangelism in the life of the church. This message was practical and filled with personal stories.

Finally, Michael Oh spoke to us about the need to engage in missions. He challenged us to fast (from food, from comfort, from family, and from the American dream) for the sake of the nations and to place missions in its proper Biblical place in our churches.

I mention all of this for two primary reasons. First, I want to say thank you for sending Daniel and I as an investment in the gospel. As I mentioned earlier, it was a very edifying and encouraging time. It was also a challenging and convicting time. Thanks. Second, I want to encourage you to pray for us as we process and pray over the event, the teaching, and their implications for Grace Church. Without a doubt we all left with a greater burden for reaching the lost in our community and in our world. The work now is to channel and spread and respond to that passion in God glorifying ways. So, again, please pray for us as we seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God in taking what we heard and putting it into action.

Most Gratefully and Sincerely,
Pastor Dave (for Pastor Daniel and I)