About 45 ministers met for a United Reformed Church pastors conference, held from June 1-3, 2015, at Westminster Seminary California (WSC).
With a theme of “The Ordinary Ministry,” it was appropriate for Dr. Michael Horton (Escondido URC, Escondido, CA) to speak on Monday evening about his recent book, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World.
Other speakers included Rev. Ronald L. Scheuers (First URC, Chino, CA), who guided attendees on how to lead corporate prayer in “The Ordinary Pastor as Confessor.” He suggested a number of resources and ways to improve corporate confession of sin.
“Rev Scheuers’s gracious and wise focus on the aspect of confession in pastoral prayer was of particular blessing to me,” says Rev. John Bouwers (Immanuel URC, Jordan, ON). “And summing up from Dr. Mike Horton’s address, we were helpfully reminded we’re not called to leave a legacy, we’re called to be faithful, and there’s rich blessing in that.”
Speaking on “Fighting the Good Fight: The struggles and rewards of ordinary ministry in light of 2 Timothy 4,” Rev. Ralph A. Pontier (Emmanuel Reformed Church, Neerlandia, AB) noted how Paul used military and athletic metaphors to show life’s difficulty.
Through personal stories, Rev. Christo F. Heiberg (Zion URC, Sheffield, ON) encouraged other ministers to persevere. He then explained, “How Reading the Fathers and Calvin Has Helped me to Press on Through 25 years of Gospel Ministry in the Reformed World.”
Using ocean-rounded rocks as an opening illustration, Rev. Danny R. Hyde (Oceanside URC, Oceanside, CA) spoke on “An All-Round Ministry.” Based on 1 Thess. 2:1-12, he described Paul’s two-pronged ministry as gentle and godly.
Dr. Dennis Johnson, PCA pastor and Professor of Practical Theology at WSC, spoke twice from the book of Acts on how “Our Extraordinary God Works in Ordinary Ministry.” Based on Acts 6:1-7, he discussed “Word and Mercy Ministries,” and from Acts 8:1-25, he described how “Believers Evangelize and Apostles Testify.”
Seminary President Dr. W. Robert Godfrey (Escondido URC, Escondido, CA) spoke during a lunch hosted by WSC about how God uses a broken and weak instrument like the church to save his people.
“I found the talks to be encouraging and edifying, but I was especially blessed by the fellowship enjoyed in a relaxed setting tailored to spiritual refreshment,” says Rev. Andrew Compton (First URC, Chino, CA, and conference organizer). “The relationships forged and strengthened by the pastors’ conference better enable us to work together in synodical and classical settins when work is the biggest responsibility.”
“It was an excellent conference,” Rev. Bouwers says. “The speeches were all very helpful and edifying, and having seasoned URC pastors prominently involved was a great encouragement and blessing as they shared from their experience of struggle and blessing.”
The above article by Glenda Mathes appeared on pages 8-9 of the September 16, 2015, issue of Christian Renewal.