Due to the generosity of a pastor friend of mine, I was given the opportunity to attend Parkside Church’s Basics Conference. Located in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, which is just outside Cleveland, we were blessed to have attended this ministry event of Parkside Church.
In case you are not familiar with Parkside Church, they are led by Senior Pastor Alistair Begg who has ministered in this church for over 30 years. He also leads Truth For Life, which is a “Bible-teaching ministry seeking to faithfully proclaim the Word of God.”
There are several highlights I would like to mention in order to give thanks and also share with you the edification and encouragement I received attending this event.
First, the fellowship with other Christian men in ministry was very uplifting. It started with our group who travelled from Indianapolis. It was a blessing to be around other men who are reforming theologically and in practice. The five hour drive was filled with theological, personal, and ministry conversations.
I was also blessed to meet new friends at the conference. There were two men from Ohio we ate with and attended the sessions together. They were a great encouragement to us.
One gentleman is a member of a church who shares our theology, philosophy and church practice. The church is named Providence Church and states “Providence Church seeks to honor Christ by faithfully proclaiming the Biblical standard for faith, family, and society.” They are located in Ashland, Ohio and we look forward to our growing friendship.
Second, the teaching sessions were beneficial in our reformation work. One of the most helpful sessions to me was Christopher Ash who spoke about Maintaining Pastoral Zeal while Avoiding Burnout. While distinguishing between sacrifice and burnout, he showed there is a real danger of burnout.
Every minister struggles with this to some degree and I have seen its effects on friends and colleagues. Many times ministers choose to ignore this issue because we do not wish to be confronted with our frailty and pride.
Therefore, Rev. Ash reminded us we are but dust and the danger of forgetting this universal truth. He emphasized the importance sleep, rest, inward renewal and friends so that we would not deceive ourselves and find the true joy in glorifying God and enjoying Him.
In another session Rev. Ash dealt with the subject of true praise. He stated, “Praise is an expression of faith not an expression of experience.” Failure to understand this keeps us from the true joy that is found in glorifying God. Praise that is built upon experience focuses on ourselves or others rather than the worship leader of our praise who is Jesus Christ.
I was also blessed by the other speakers and topics but I only want to mention one other message by Alistair Begg. It is very enjoyable to listen to Pastor Begg with his personal style. In his message he showed how that outside of Christ nothing really matters. It is all vanity as the Preacher in Ecclesiastes wrote. Yet, in Christ everything matters.
Third, the hospitality of the congregation at Parkside Church was incredible. They treated attendee as their special guest and the amount of personal sacrifice from this congregation was honorable. As the recent movie set forth the truth that God’s Not Dead, it was encouraging to see that neither is His Church.
It was be a great encouragement to your pastor or other men in your church involved in ministry, whether they are lay-leaders or ministers, to attend one of these conferences in the future. If the Lord wills, I look forward to attending again next year.