I thought the conference was excellent in most every way, and that has been confirmed by many others as well. The Lord blessed in wonderful ways. It was truly wonderful and a great encouragement to be able to gather again, and together to learn, to grow, to worship, to fellowship, and to be challenged, and then to depart nourished and edified to press on faithfully in the ministry of the gospel of Jesus Christ where he has called each of us.
We pray, plan, strategize, and pray again (never ceasing to pray!), and we then trust the Lord to work, knowing unless the Lord builds the house, those who build labor in vain (Ps. 127), and unless the Holy Spirit breathes life into it (cf. Ezek. 37), there will be no spiritual life. In my weak-eyed, limited perspective, he built and breathed. Thanks be to God!
We ended up with 350+ in attendance, representing 150 churches and 13 districts. We are grateful for the numbers and who and what those numbers represent. Numbers are one data point and in some ways they matter. But numbers are not our primary interest, but rather it is each and every individual person those represented by those numbers. People are what matter to us. And most all were grateful to have attended and departed renewed. This is an answer to prayer.
A Few Comments
I include comments from a few who attended, testimonies which could be multiplied.
“The topic was outstanding. I also really liked the lineup of speakers, but not because they are big names or dynamic preachers. I liked that they were teaching us, not just preaching. I felt like I learned, was challenged, and grew in my understanding of the issues at hand. It wasn't simply a conference to get away and hear good messages. I left feeling edified and better equipped.”
“Our elder team left encouraged and edified.”
“Honestly, since I've been to many many conferences and planned almost as many I wasn't sure that I'd get much out of this year's conference. I'm happy to report that I was wrong and the conference exceeded my expectations. I really liked the emphasis on catechesis!”
“Perhaps the best yet! Each speaker was excellent, challenging, and helpful. The breakouts were over the top.”
“We are blessed in the EFCA to be encouraged, challenged and discipled in sound doctrine, cultural engagement, academic excellence and an overall Christ-centered fellowship and worship.”
“Just prior to receiving this survey I commented to my husband that I feel ‘bolstered’ for ministry in the local church. This theology conference was refreshing, engaging and provocative. I pray that even more pastors are compelled to attend next year!”
“Some powerful expression of truth that only fires up my soul more! And with that some incredible and timely conversations, such as I had not expected.”
“I left encouraged, enlightened, and energized to serve God in my church and through the EFCA. It was a great blessing. I could almost hear God’s delight when we sang his praises.”
“As I woke up this morning…the truths, the songs, and the fellowship we enjoyed this last week are all still ringing in my mind and heart. Praise be to God for such a blessed week of encouragement to my soul. I find myself incredibly refreshed and invigorated to return to my family and flock this weekend.”
“The 2022 EFCA Theology Conference was a remarkable event. The careful planning, the quality speakers, the engaging break-out sessions, the thoughtful, well-led corporate worship, the privilege of being physically together with all the conversations that fostered, held in the welcoming setting of the Orchard EFC, all combined to make this gathering encouraging, stimulating, and--at least potentially--fruitful. The Lord Jesus chose and appointed his friends to bear lasting fruit (John 15:16 in context). It is my prayer—warranted expectation—that this conference will prove to be a seed bed of just such fruit.”
Please pause and thank the Lord for his kindness in blessing us as he did, and will continue to do, in and through the messages and truths from the conference.
Finally, we include links to all the messages at the conference, both the plenary messages and all the breakouts. (You can find the entire collection of resources from the 2022 EFCA Theology Conference on EFCA Helps.)
“Our Citizenship Is In Heaven: Exiles Who Are In But Not Of the World”
Part 1: The World: Explaining the World to the Faithful
Part 2: The Christian: In But Not Of
Part 3: The Church: A Manifestation of the Gospel – A Hope-Filled, Eschatological Apologetic
Use of the Resources
For those who attended the conference, I encourage you to listen to the messages again. Since we were only able to attend two of the four breakouts, make sure you listen to the two you were unable to attend.
For those who were unable to attend, please plan to listen to all the messages. The messages followed the order included above. In the plenary sessions, we addressed broader issues affecting Christians and the church, while in the breakouts, we addressed four specific issues.
It is great if you are able to listen to them alone, but better yet is to listen to them and then plan to discuss the messages with others. For pastors, discuss the messages with your fellow elders. For ministry staff at churches, discuss as part of staff meetings or over lunch meetings. The ways these resources can be used are manifold. Please share with me what you learn.
I closed the conference with this doxological blessing, which I pray now again for you as you listen and learn, as you hear and heed from the Lord: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Rom. 15:13).
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