Well, I arrived safely in Chicago for my 21st Moody’s Pastors conference. You may ask, “Why do you keep going back every year?” Good question, glad you asked. My 1st year in the ministry,1987, I attended MBI’s conference and my heart was so blessed I made a determination that if the Lord made it possible I would put it on my calendar and attend every year. I have pretty much kept that commitment over the years. The first year I attended Dr. Joe Stowell was installed as the new President of Moody. Dr. Stowell had an incredible heart for the pastors. He was completed engaged with us and very personal. When he left after the 2006 conference I felt like I’d lost my pastor. There were a few years in that span between 1986-2006 when the pastors’ conference probably saved my ministry. I was just so discouraged and defeated, but MBI’s conference refreshed me and encouraged me to keep going on. When I came to the conference in 2007 with the new President installed it just wasn’t the same. It felt very much like Moody was fulfilling an obligation. They had a check list of things that needed to be done but you could tell their heart wasn’t in it. The new attenders didn’t notice the difference it but we veterans sure did. See there is a huge difference between doing ministry because it’s your passion and doing it because it’s an obligation. What’s your motivation for doing the ministry you are involved with? I took a few years off from the conference (2008, 2009) and wasn’t sure I’d ever return but I did last year. MBI now has another new President (well he’s not new any more) and I hope this year’s conference will be a great time of refreshment and blessing.
One thing that is already new is that I drove by myself (with Jesus’ company of course) the 805 miles to Chicago. I listened to 8 John Piper sermons, several African-American preachers and an assortment of various music stations. I’m already spiritual challenged (8 Piper messages will do that) but I’m looking forward to another great year at MBI. I’ll try to keep you informed of how my week goes.
Growing together in Jesus, Pastor Rich