The purpose of the General Pastoral Conferences is shared study of the Word of God and mutual encouragement. At times, the study is directed to a particular doctrinal concern—to wrestle with God’s Truth and its application in our teaching and in our lives. At other times, it is simply study in the Word to nurture faith. The chaplain of the conference provides devotions each day, the speaker and liturgist provide the Word through the conference communion service, and the various essayists share the results of their work in the Word for the benefit of all. The purpose for all of this is characterized by the writer to the Hebrews, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works . . . exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:23-25)
Each pastoral conference features an in-depth study of an Old and New Testament text. This year’s studies were in Amos chapter 1 and 2 Thessalonians chapter 2. Additional essays this year were an evaluation of Bible translations, a devotional study of Revelation chapter 1, and “Pornography—the Secret Sin No One Wants to Talk About.” The conference also undertook a study of what Scripture teaches regarding admonition and termination of fellowship, as directed by the 2021 and 2022 synod conventions.
It is the prayer of each pastoral conference that the participants return home nurtured and recharged for the work they do in the kingdom. We pray that your pastor returned home that way this year. Yet this blessing is not just for pastors gathered in a conference every other year, it is a goal and blessing for each child of God every time we go to draw water from the wells of salvation and seek to bless one another within the bonds of fellowship in Christ Jesus. “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:15-18).