Monday, November 07, 2005

A Retrospective on the God Focused Youth Ministry Training Conference

Very seldom in my life have I been immediately conscious of being a part of something overwhelmingly important. I don't think that is because God has seldom given me anything worthwhile to do; it probably has more to do with the fact that I have blown far too many opportunities for service because I wasn't tuned in to their eternal significance.

My small part in the God Focused Youth Ministry Training Conference was simply overwhelming to my soul. None of the credit for anything good that happened goes to people, and if it did, very little of the credit would have been mine. I am indescribably grateful for the work that God did in my spirit as He exalted His name through the ministry of the speakers and conference leaders and servants.

I think the reason this training conference is so important is that it caused several dozen church and ministry leaders to take a hard look at our personal character and devotion, our view of Scripture, our approach to ministry, and our methodology for discipling other believers. It is patently easy for us who profess to be biblical to cast stones at churches that never cease to find new ways to compromise the gospel. Last week denied the opportunity for stone-casting because we were directly challenged not just to look at what the Bible says about how we are to live, but to test our motivations for why we live the way that we live to ensure that those motivations are focused on exalting the name of our God. My recent post on gospel-centered parenting is a good example of this distinct emphasis.

I've been fortunate to attend a pretty fair number of ministry-related conferences, almost all of which have been beneficial. I have never attended or even heard of one in which the focus has been more about helping pastors exalt the name of God before the eyes of His people. I've also never attended any kind of conference at which I was more directly reproved about the condition of my own spirit and built up in my dependence God alone.

The Positive Action leadership team spent most of the day today directing a critical eye on the past week and making some plans for the future. We found ourselves talking so much about what we want to improve for next year (tentatively set for November 6–9) that it was easy to forget about how grateful we need to be to our gracious God for how He worked in our hearts and those of the attendees despite our deficiencies. May His name alone be praised!

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