But why should you give up a Saturday to come to central Arkansas to hear people preach from the Bible? I'm glad you asked! Of course, it is August and too hot to be doing something outside anyway. But here are 5 even better reasons to join us:
1. The Subject Matter - The theme of this year's conference is on the importance of the local church. Why it must be a priority. Why it is not 'optional'. Why it is essential to making disciples. I think this to be a very relevant subject in the United States today. There are voices from outside the church talking about how we are on the 'wrong side of history.' There are voices from within the church talking about how 'you don't have to go to church to be a Christian' and other erroneous claims. There are discussions within conservative denominations about the right way to plant a church, how to revitalize a local church, what constitutes a healthy church, and the list goes on. There are clarion calls for revival. But let me just reveal my hand to you here: the local church does still matter, and until we recover a biblical Christ honoring vision for the local church, evangelicalism (for whatever that word is worth anymore) and our culture will continue to suffer. We will not see revival or reformation until we get a biblical view of the local church.
2. The Speakers - We were priviliged to have a great group of speakers come last year, and the lineup this year is equally great. Tom Nettles, Steve Burchett, and Ray Van Neste are men who love the local church and each has given his life's work for the furtherance of the glory of Christ through the ministry of the local church. They love pastors and will be helpful to your growth and encouragment as a pastor. But they also love church members in general and to teach the Bible so that people from all walks of life will grow to love the local church. So, there is really something for everyone to benefit from. Each speaker will have one plenary session and there will also be a Q&A panel, which leads us to our next point:
3. A Q&A Panel - A new feature this year will be the Question and Answer panel immediately following our lunch break. Joining the above speakers on this panel will be Jeffrey Johnson, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Conway, AR and author of several books including The Fatal Flaw of Infant Baptism, The Church: Why Bother?, and The Absurdity of Unbelief. These four men will be answering questions directly from conference attendees. We've already had several streaming in, and you can submit yours by clicking here. But also, you will have the opportunity to write down a question and submit it before lunch. No, these 4 men aren't the 'infallible experts' but each offers a mature and biblical perspective on the local church and will be able to offer wise instruction regarding theological and practical questions concerning the church.
4. The Fellowship - No, I'm not talking about food! And I'm not just using a Baptist cliché either. A great benefit to coming to this conference is meeting likeminded brothers and sisters from around the State of Arkansas. One of the hopes of this conference has always been that it will foster relationships that will last beyond just a one day event. You can drive to a conference 3 States away and benefit. But you can't normally come back from that having met pastors that you can sync up with throughout the year! You may think your church is the only one facing some of the struggles that you are, but there are churches all across the State who are striving to be healthy and facing similar issues. Wouldn't it be mutually beneficial to get to know some of those churches and pastors? Well, at a conference like this you will be sure to meet them! We will sing together, worship together, hear great preaching toghether, and have some great conversations together.
5. Free Stuff - We are continuing to work on all of our giveaways, but we've amassed some great stuff so far. Matthias Media is givning us some discipleship packets, we will have some For the Church - Arkansas t-shirts, Chapel Library resources, and more. In addition to that, we will be selling some great books at discounted prices. We are also giving away a free copy of Jeffrey Johnson's book The Church: Why Bother? to the first 80 people who register. So, if you plan on coming, go ahead and register now to secure your book!And of course, this is all free. The Lord has really blessed in putting the pieces into place the last 2 years on this conference and He is doing so again this year. Too often, there are really great conferences out there but you break the budget going there by the time you pay for the hotel, registration costs, gas, several meals, etc. But here is a one-day event, within driving distance, with great speakers, and all it will cost you is a little bit of time, gas to get here, and whatever you can scrounge up for lunch.
Won't you join us August 27?
Let me ask you one last thing: If you are unable to join us 8/27, would you mind helping us spread the word about this conference? Thanks!