September 07, 2012
Think of someone who has no clue what he is walking into. He's bumping elbows with people whose rap sheets far outweigh his...that's me. I attended Day 1 of Gordon-Conwell's Preaching Conference yesterday. We were surrounded the men and women who are living out what they've been commanded and called to do by Jesus Christ. We're worshipping with obedient disciples who passionately care about their parish and their pulpit responsibilities. It was fantastic. It was a full day of learning, a full day of worship, a full day of community, and a full day of being fed...and it was cheap, too :)
I am a first year student; called to preach, but with no idea what that really looks like. Then comes Kevin DeYoung and Haddon Robinson. My wife and I were blown away. We loved every minute. DeYoung preached the Word and Robinson enlightened preachers on how to preach the Word. It was quite fitting. The student speaks and then his former professor follows. Both had passion and yet expressed it differently. One is in a fruitful time of ministry while the other concludes decades of mastery. It was a brilliant start to the conference.
Want some details? DeYoung brought the heat: he gave an exegetical teaching on Mark 15. What were some main ideas? Mark focused on the shame of the events leading up to the crucifixion, not the actual pain of the cross itself. DeYoung reminded us, his listeners, that Christ's suffering is a scene of remarkable rejection and systematic desertion of his followers and enemies. He then beautifully transitioned into an atonement theme as He explained that Christ takes care of our shame! He sustained the embarrassment and the ridicule of our sin and he did it in our place. And seriously...this is barely a summary and does absolutely no justice. DeYoung brought an inspired message.
And then came Robinson - everyone in the room knows this man. Years and years of excellence, leadership, preaching, expertise, and advice. We were here to listen. He was so practical. I loved it! He gave a down-to-earth, clear message about bad assumptions preachers make about their audiences. He gave us seven assumptions, which I will spare you the time. Nevertheless, the man's insight is priceless. I only wish I had more time with this man. He was funny, full of wisdom, and naturally commanded your attention. Toward the end, he left us with a prayer that every preacher should pray as he or she prepares for a sermon: "Lord, get past me to the people". Incredible.
My wife and I just got to campus this week...nervous...excited...pregnant...new...and then we settle in with the community of Christ, His Body and celebrate our King. This conference is simple, clear, and godly. To my friends, this conference is for every preacher.
Joshua Pool is a Kern Pastor-Scholar and is pursuing a Master of Divinity at Gordon-Conwell. He is married to a wonderful woman, Mandi, who loves God and loves him. They are expecting their first baby next month and look forward to their little girl, Abbie.
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