The primary drive that makes Shepherds’ Conference so great is the day-to-day focus on God’s Word. The conference, geared towards pastors, does an excellent job in emphasizing sound teaching from the pulpit. The line-up is impressive and includes names like John MacArthur, HB Charles, Mark Dever, Albert Mohler, and Steven Lawson.
This year’s theme was “I Will Build My Church.” All the messages touched on biblical qualities of healthy churches. Among the messages I was specifically encouraged by two sermons. The first was the one given by Phil Johnson. In it, he states that the defining quality of every church must be love for Christ. He worked his way through Revelation 2, namely, the letter to the church in Ephesus. He gave a good survey of the church’s history from Acts. Overall, the message was a great reminder in my specific context. My local church doesn’t necessarily argue with the necessity of pure doctrine. As a matter of fact, we welcome it and I believe we pursue it much fervor (much like Ephesus). I do think that the church can greatly improve in the manifestation of Christian love.
The second sermon I found edifying was Mark Dever’s sermon. In it, he surveys 1 Timothy and provides the qualities of good leaders. He touched on what leaders teach, how leaders live, and what consumes the heart of the leader. One of the reasons I enjoyed this sermon was because it uniquely surveyed the entire book. I thought it was great to see an example of expository preaching that tackles large chunks, or in this case, an entire book. Another reason why I enjoyed this sermon was because of its devotional and applicational flavor. As a leader, I was encouraged to focus on the spiritual marks of God-honoring leadership. In our world, it is easy to be caught up in pragmatic gimmicks of ministry and leadership. Dever’s encouragement was simple yet challenging.
I will probably spend some time re-listening to the sermons in the coming weeks. I am confident that they will continue to encourage my soul to love my local church and serve them with Christ-like humility.