Earlier this year, the Association of Baptist Churches (ABC) in Northern Ireland held its pastors’ conference at the Four Seasons Hotel in Carlingford.
Some 92 men involved in ministry across the Island attended the conference. The speaker was Ray Evans, senior pastor of Grace Church Bedford. The theme was ‘Ready, steady, grow: equipping today’s gospel churches’.
The first session encouraged the men that ‘whatever happens’ (Philippians 1:27), whether that be circumstantial setbacks, Christian selfishness or the crisis of suffering, those involved in gospel ministry need to conduct themselves in a manner worthy of Christ.
The second session highlighted from Acts 6 that the apostles organised themselves so they could devote themselves to ministry of the Word and prayer. Christian leaders should not neglect organisation.
The third session encouraged the men to consider the variety of means available to reach lost people, by looking at the gospel changing lives in Acts 16. The final session reminded everyone present that growing the church is a spiritual endeavour and the Christian pastor must devote himself to prayer.
Break-out groups were a precious time of meeting new people, praying for and encouraging one another. Plenty of time was factored into the programme for catching up over a coffee or going for a walk.
The facilities in the hotel provided a relaxed and comfortable environment for the conference. Those involved in ABC ministry are encouraged to attend on 5-6 March 2018, when, Lord willing, the speaker will be Dr Bruce Ware, professor of Christian theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY.
Rev. Andrew R. Allan