Our 2016 Mission Conference was this past weekend. Today I would like to spend a few moments reflecting on the conference. I came away from our conference with mixed emotions. There were some extreme highs and some sad lows.
Mission Conference Joy
Our conference was tremendous! Dony St. Germain preached two powerful messages. On Friday night, he passionately gave us two reasons why we should not be ashamed of the Gospel.
- There is Power in the Gospel!
- The Gospel Destroys Shame!
Then on Sunday morning he took us to Romans 8 and taught God’s process of adopting us into His family. He reminded us that becoming a child of God is not like foster care that is temporary and uncertain. Becoming a child of God is an adoption. It is permanent and certain!
On Saturday morning it was encouraging to hear about all of the wonderful ways God is working through the ministries of ESMI (visit them on facebook) and the Baptist Children’s Home. The stories our missionaries told gripped our hearts and glorified God.
I was privileged to lead the music for the conference. Our choir and orchestra ministered powerfully throughout the conference. The congregational singing was strong and stirring all weekend long.
Overall, I think this may have been on of the best conferences we have ever had. Everything seemed to be very well integrated together this year. We worked very hard to center everything around the theme of our conference. We all left the conference with a better understanding of what it means to say, “I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel.”
Mission Conference Sadness
In spite of all the joy, I left the conference with a strange emotion. I am not sure how to describe it. It felt like sadness, grief, sorrow, and disappointment all mixed together. It was an odd feeling. These emotions came as I observed what I assume is Mission Conference Apathy. Simply put, a lot of people just don’t seem to care.
This past weekend is an annual highlight of our church calendar. We eat together. We pray together. We sing together. We hear powerful preaching together. We learn together. We worship together. There is superb child-care all weekend long. And yet, large portions of our church simply do not attend. I may be wrong, but my guess is that a majority of our church only came to the Sunday morning 10:30am service. This makes me sad because I know what they missed.
Honestly, I do not know why so many people did not attend our Mission Conference. I know many had to work. Many were probably sick. I know many had other commitments. However, I do know that some did not come simply because they did not want to. I pray that we would be a church that cares. I pray that we would be a church that gathers together around the preaching of God’s Word. May we never be a church that is known for our apathy!
When I think of our 2016 Mission Conference, my feelings of joy overwhelm any feelings of sadness. It really was a unique and powerful weekend. It was a weekend we will talk about for months to come. I praise God for all that He did in the life of Faith Baptist Church this past weekend.
PS – Speaking of adoption, one of our church members, Hannah Hancock, wrote a powerful blog post this week about her family’s experience in trying to adopt. You should read it.