I am the lesser of 3 speakers at a conference in March next year. There is a website with the details, background, booking information etc. There is also a blog that we will post to in the lead up to the conference next year.
“I was relying on techniques and strategies, not on the God who revealed himself in Scripture and in Jesus.”
It might not have been the best career strategy, but when I finished high school I went directly into Bible college to train for pastoral ministry. I wasn’t a red hot brand plucked from the fire, I was the red hot brand that was going to start the fire… a bonfire: Elijah versus the prophets of Baal style. Or so I thought. But there is only so much momentum that youthful zeal can provide. Sooner rather than later wisdom is needed, but very often reneging on “naive” youthful absolutes is misinterpreted as wisdom. Instead of allowing God to shape you and recreate you through death to self and new life, many opt to abandon the Bible and quench their desire to achieve something for God. I didn’t have that option.
A few short years after finishing my initial training, I went to Africa to serve in a preaching and teaching role. I was a sort of travelling trainer of local Church planters. At the time I thought nothing of the fact that I was only 26 and was holding weekly seminars to tens and hundreds of men many years my senior, telling them, “This is how it’s done!” Over and over again I encountered situations that I had no idea how to handle: Cultural problems, medical crises, financial administration, political unrest, murders, witchcraft (not the Hollywood stuff, the real thing), along with all the rest of the issues preachers and missionaries have to deal with in third world countries. It was great. I was having a ball!
In the middle of all of that though I discovered that I needed to reassess my grasp of how the Bible works and how it applies to life and ministry. The techniques and strategies that I had absorbed and assumed as a teenager just didn’t work. But that is the point of my story. I was relying on techniques and strategies, not on the God who revealed himself in Scripture and in Jesus. I was forced to go back and rebuild a theology that is for all of life not just a lecture hall.
I am not speaking at the 3D conference as a scholar or a tried and tested veteran of ministry. If this seminar needed another slogan, it would be, “Blokes punching above their weight”. Certainly, I have completed the odd tour of duty here and there and maybe even earned a stripe or two, but I am no expert. Rather, I position myself more as the lowest common denominator. This is to say, if I can get this stuff then so can you.
The idea that God reveals himself in the Bible as a Covenant maker and continues to work out that same process in his providence is shaping the way I live, think, read, do theology and serve the Church. It is intensely practical. I am finding that I am increasingly pressed to study the Bible in more detail and to love God more deeply as he constantly breaks me and remakes me.
I hope the 3D seminars light a fire in you as well, and give you greater momentum and vision to live for the glory of our Lord and Saviour.
Pastor, Marsfield Community Church