One of the major events on our staff calendar is Lancaster Baptist Church’s Spiritual Leadership Conference right smack in the middle of the summer! I spent four years at LBC as a student of West Coast Baptist College. Every conference is like a homecoming for me as I reconnect with fellow alumni and the loving church family that took care of me as a teenager and young adult. I even enjoy seeing the occasional tumbleweed (which I think should be declared as Lancaster’s city flower) flying across the street. Driving up 40th Street East truly provides me with a nostalgic look at some of the best days of my life! But yet, those are not the major reasons I love coming to the Spiritual Leadership Conference.
As God has worked in my heart during the conference, I asked myself, “If God can use this conference in my life, why not let Him work in other people’s lives as well?” For this reason, I decided to share why I love attending the Spiritual Leadership Conference at Lancaster Baptist Church.
As I’ve already stated, I love coming home once a year! Even though I only get to talk to my friends a few times a year, it is amazing how serving the Lord bonds us together. When we meet, all we ever talk about is what God has done in our lives and ministries. I am always encouraged to see fellow friends staying in the battle and I pray that I can be an encouragement to them, too.
During the first few times I came to the conference as a WCBC graduate, the conversations often revolved around what it was like when we were in college. We were often looking back. In the past five years or so, it’s been about what God is doing and what He wants to do in our lives. Prayer requests are shared, ministry ideas are communicated, and a spiritual vision accompanied with a spiritual strategy are cast forth. I suppose that comes as we all continue to mature. The friendships God has blessed me with truly draws me to attend the conference each year. I guess you can say that as friends, God uses us to sharpen each other. Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
Now this may be synonymous to friendship but I look at this more as the opportunity to meet other servant leaders for the first time. There has never been a conference when I have not met a new pastor, an old warrior of the faith, or a faithful layman who came to learn to be a better supporter of his pastor. I have always loved meeting new people! And as I talk to these folks about their ministries and passion for the Lord Jesus Christ, God reminds me that He is not just doing a great work in Gilbert, Arizona; He’s also accomplishing His will in Alaska, Australia, Alabama, and every place in between! After all God did say to Elijah, and the message to us is the same, Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.
The final and most important reason I love coming to the Spiritual Leadership Conference, the fire it provides! You don’t have to be around Pastor Paul Chappell for a long time to see the hand of God upon His life. Being under his leadership while in college, I have observed a man who passionately preaches the Truth, persistently pleases God, and purposefully practices what He preaches. I remember Pastor Chappell telling us students that the history of the Antelope Valley should not be written without mentioning the God of Lancaster Baptist Church. It is this fire, this God-given passion that permeates the whole conference. To be frank, it is just downright contagious! How many servant leaders have come home to their communities this week believing that God can use them to impact their regions for Christ? I know I did! And all of this is not because of a man, but because of the God of this man.
Other conferences lift up their fellowships, agendas, heroes, institutions, ministry ideas, methods, and products. They even try to superficially create a “revival” atmosphere. Let me say that they are sincere when they do this and I believe that they mean well. However, if Christ is not lifted up, how can He draw all men to Himself? Christ must have the preeminence! When that happens, a power unlike anything man can ever explain comes from above and God uses that power to equip His servant for the impossible task ahead. After all Jesus did say, Without me ye can do nothing.
So how about it? Will you come and be changed by the God through the Spiritual Leadership Conference? You can register now for the 2011 conference at www.lancsaterbaptist.org/slc. I promise you, it will change your life forever!