Ben Reaoch | Category: The Church Community
Last week was very encouraging for me. Rob Myroniuk and I drove to Louisville, Kentucky, to attend the Together for the Gospel conference that is held there every other year. It has grown quite a bit since I attended 10 years ago. This year about 10,000 folks gathered in a basketball stadium in downtown Louisville to sing together and learn together from God’s Word. The theme was the Protestant Reformation, since next year will mark 500 years since Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses to the door of the church in Wittenburg, Germany, thus kickstarting the Reformation.
The talks at T4G were great. They were informative, encouraging, and inspiring in various ways. Mark Dever gave an encouraging message on endurance. John Piper preached on the bondage of the will, one of the things that Martin Luther viewed as a critical doctrine of the reformation. David Platt, who is the president of our International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, gave a moving address in which he shared many stories of reformation martyrs—men and women who gave up their lives because they loved God’s Word and loved the biblical truth of the Gospel. I also attended a breakout session on racial reconciliation. A man named Jamar Tisby is the president of the Reformed African-American Network, and he and Ligon Duncan shared some very honest and helpful things about how we in the Reformed community should be wrestling with these issues.
As good as the teaching was throughout the conference, what was even more encouraging to me was the fellowship and the corporate worship. It was exciting to stand together with 10,000 other folks, singing hymns of praise to our great God. The music was very simple and very powerful. The music team was a team of one. Bob Kauflin sat at a piano with a microphone in front of him, leading us in great hymns.
Rob and I met up with some other folks from Pittsburgh. We spent some time with Mark Sentell and Jonathan Overstreet who are pastors in the Pittsburgh area. I also talked with Steve Vinay who used to be a member at 3RG and is now serving at Abiding Grace Church with Mike Milano. I also met up with many old friends from my days in seminary, which is always refreshing and beneficial, and some mentors of mine – Bruce Ware and Tom Schreiner. Being able to spend some time with each of them was encouraging.
When the conference ended, I had the special privilege of staying over another day and a half to be part of a gathering of about 130 very like-minded pastors from all over the world just to hang out and talk through various church leadership issues and to encourage each other in the task God has called us to. I’m on a conference call with every 6 weeks or so with some of these guys—the ones who pastor in the northeast. This gathering in Louisville was an opportunity for not only our little regional group, but for these groups from all over the world, to spend some time together. There were pastors from the Middle East, from UK, a pastor from Nairobi, Kenya, from Germany, China, South Africa, and from all over the US.
Mike McKinley, who spoke at the 9Marks workshop hosted by 3RG in January, was part of this gathering, and it was good to catch up with him. I also got to hang out with Shai Linne, whom some of you know from his his hip-hop music. He now pastors a church in Philly. And many others. It was a great time hearing how God is working in churches all over the world and a great time of learning from others.
It’s exciting to be reminded that we are part of a global community of believers. Let’s pray for the Gospel to go forth here in our region as well as in these many other places where God is building His church.
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