I’m here at the Basics Conference for pastors conducted by Parkside Church in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, where Alistair Begg is the pastor. I’m with Pastor Leo Cumings, my brother-in-law Jim, a nephew, Zach, and my younger brothers Kevin and Nathan.
There are about 1,500 men who are “in the trenches of ministry” in close proximity for part of three days. The fellowship in the gospel among these men is sweet. It is enriching to be among men, many who have served faithfully in the cause of Christ for years.
It is a powerful experience to sing with hundreds upon hundreds of men. The music is a part of the fellowship and it is a part of the influence of the conference. The songs are chosen with pastoral thought and care to enforce the rich biblical teaching in the conference. The worship leaders are skilled and devoted brothers and sisters. The audio and video and state-of-the-art.
Of course, there is a bookstore, well-stocked with books carefully chosen for their faithfulness to truth. All of them discounted 30%. A pastor’s joy.
The food is healthy and plentiful. It is served within two hundred yards of where the sessions are held around round tables perfect for conversation. Healthy snacks are included in the price of the conference. At this conference a man can eat right and he can eat well.
The conference is affordable. One reasonable price includes all sessions and all food, three meals a day including a Chik-fil-a meal in a bag to take on the road after the last session on Wednesday. That is a nice touch.
Alistair Begg is a bright, humorous fellow. He is obviously a man of intensity, strong conviction, and I suspect, strong opinion, but his humor runs just below the surface of the conference bursting into plain view with delightful regularity.
5. A Local Church
It is heartening to spend a few days on the property of a flourishing local church and be served by people who are united in purpose and heart. You can feel it in the air. You can see it on the faces of the people eagerly and joyfully serving.
6. Theological Faithfulness without Sectarian Crankiness
The conference always reinforces my convictions about Scripture, preaching, the importance of theological fidelity without going beyond the Scripture or descending into sectarian pettiness. This is strengthening to my soul. I am charged with faithfulness to Christ and to his Word. This conference strongly reinforces that.
7. Basics without Trendy Gimmicks
Some conferences can get you into trouble with your local church. At the conference you pick up the latest ecclesiastical gimmick and you take it home and push it upon your people. Often these are trendy gimmicks that have little scriptural basis… The Basics Conference is basics, the preaching of the Word, the fellowship of the saints, meaningful prayer and corporate singing. These are things that travel welll. If a pastor takes them home to his church it will be good for the church and likely strengthen his influence for good upon his people.
Thank you Parkside Church.
Thank you Pastor Alistair Begg.
Thank you, Lord for the sweet privilege of such an enriching conference.
Chagrin Falls, Ohio
May 8, 2019