For leaders, blazing new trails in ministry often means laying aside their own ambitions and resources. It’s a humbling process, said speakers at the IBSA Pastors’ Conference in Maryville. But it’s glorious to watch God work through pastors and churches that are committed to his will and his way.
Darryl Gaddy (right) opened the conference by calling leaders to work so that more people can hear and respond to the gospel, even as they navigate difficult circumstances and difficult people. God is in control, said Gaddy, a church planting strategist in South Carolina.
“Oftentimes we as pastors…find ourselves at the precipice of despair because we forget that God has already determined the outcome.” The answer, Gaddy said, is to continue preaching the gospel and trust God to do the work of transforming lives.
In Illinois, more than 8 million people do not have a relationship with Christ. Later Pastors’ Conference messages focused on the vital role partnership plays in reaching them.
“You’re never going to miss the money and the time and the prayer and the effort spent on somebody who needs it to share the gospel,” said Illinois chaplain Matt Crain. He described how his former church worked with church planters in their region, offering resources and support. In return, his church learned the importance of faith and sacrifice by watching the church planters.
“Your people in your church need to know there is somebody who is losing sleep because there is a town full of people who do not know Jesus,” Crain said.
St. Louis pastor Noah Oldham preached on becoming a sending church. Those churches work against the urge to gather and accumulate, said Oldham, pastor of August Gate. Churches that God uses are diverse, unknown, worshipful, hungry, humble, and obedient. They’re like the church at Antioch, which was planted by nameless men who nevertheless established one of the most effective churches in history.
“That church that was launching point for the Gentile mission was planted by nobodies,” Oldham said, asking the audience, “Will you be those people?”