The spring MSBA calendar has had/will have numerous training opportunities:
1. Pastors/Wives Retreat---1/29-30, Pipestem
2. Annual MSBA Men's Breakfast---Sat., 2/6, 8am, Lilly Grove BC
3. Pastors Fellowship---Monday, 2/8, 11am-1pm, FBC Hinton
4. Deacon Training---2/10 (Wed.) two sessions (same material each session), MSBA conference room. Day session will be 11-1, lunch provided. Eve. session 6-8pm.
5. Disaster Relief Training---Sat., 3/19, 9am-1pm, MSBA conference room; basic Yellow Hat certification; lunch provided.
6. VBS Training---VBS Directors only, 2/22. ; all VBS workers, 3/21. Both @IBC, both Mon. @ 7pm.
7. Marriage Enrichment Retreat---sponsored by MSBA Family Ministry & Immanuel BC. April 1-2 at IBC. 8. WMU Bi-Annual Mtg.---Tues., 4/, 7pm, Ceres BC; state Missions Celebration, FBC Fairlea, 4/22-23
9. BASICS Preaching Conference---May 9-11, near Cleveland OH. DA Carson is main speaker.
10. SBC in St. Louis--- (June 13-15)
11. M2M Mission to Miami Mission Trip---June 17-25
Why something every month? Because of the biblical admonition to train (show how to do something) and equip (give a person the tools to do it) the body of Christ. 3x in the NT we are admonished to ‘walk in a manner worthy of the Lord’ (1 Thess. 2.12, Eph. 4.1, Col. 1.10). The word ‘walk’ is a euphemism for living our lives in a way that best honors the Father. The Great Commission was to ‘make disciples’ (Mt. 28.18-20) and this happens best when we are intentional and focused in our training and equipping. The intimate relationship Paul had with a congregation (Ephesus, described in Acts 20.17-38), with individual members of a young congregation (1 Thess. 2.7-12) and with Timothy, his child in the faith (2 Tim. 2.2) show us it takes large investments of time and love to produce a faithful follower of Christ.
I have said often that people are not flocking to WV; they are, in fact, leaving as the WV population continues to dwindle. To have further generations of leaders within our churches we must train and equip from within. Each church needs to use every opportunity possible to help each member and person they reach with the Gospel to “walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own Kingdom and glory.” (1 Thess. 2.12). Our pastors do a wonderful job of sharing truth from the pulpit, but we could multiply the teaching/discipling ministry of our churches exponentially if we would train and equip disciples, and each member see it as their calling to do so.
The power of investing in one life was made apparent to me recently in a dramatic way. Johnny Derouen (der-win, Cajun; remember, I grew up in the swamps of SW LA) was a friend who came to Christ in his high school years. I was privileged to share with him the rudiments of the faith as he took his first “steps” as a young believer. He passed me up a long time ago in his walk and has been professor of youth ministry at SWBTS for many years. This month he told me about a website that has launched. It is extraordinary in scope and content as a product of Johnny’s leadership and the generosity of many seminary professors across the country. http://disciple6.com/ is a remarkable series of discipleship lessons and program for youth I encourage anyone wanting to disciple one or a hundred youth to examine and use. It is a testament to the power of one person in whom you invest, and is an opportunity for you to take a young person under your wing as your Timothy. If you wish to use other materials, I can recommend many.
Please pray about whom God is leading you to invest in “not only the gospel of God but also your own life.” (1 Thess. 2.8) This is not peripheral but essential . . . it IS our mission mandate from Christ Himself.