If you’re in any sort of ministry in the church, I would recommend that you go and download the messages from the Basics Conference. In particular, Piper’s messages, Begg’s first message (he hasn’t preached the second one yet), and Tim Challies’ breakout session are worth your time.
If I tried to write out all the things that I’ve been learning and been convicted by this would probably become a long post. What I would like to point out, however, is the one theme that seems to be recurring that is remarkably encouraging to me.
The conference itself is called ‘the Basics’ and that’s exactly what we’ve been reminded of. In the Q&A session, Piper was asked, ‘What’s the number one challenge coming for pastors in the next ten years?’ He responded that the challenges in the next ten years is the same as it has always been: stay red-hot for God and preaching the gospel undiminished. We don’t need to be culturally hip. We should bleed Bible, not movies. When Begg was asked what advice he would give to seminary students preparing for ministry, he responded, ‘Read your Bible, and meet with God in the secret place.’
The simple fact is that in ministry, it is so easy to get bored with telling the same old story, preaching the same gospel, teaching the same doctrine for so many Sundays, over so many years. That is, it is easy to get bored if your own soul is not finding life in the gospel.
The challenge, then, is to preach the gospel to your own soul. Be in the word. Meet with God. As you see your desperate need, you will not grow bored. You will be faithful to preach with desperation if you are faithful to feel the desperation of your own soul on the brink of eternity, in desperate need of the gospel that gives life.
This time has been quite a blessing so far. I’m looking forward to more.