2018 Pastors Conference – Session 2

Contending for the Faith

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Jerome Symonette, pastor of Restoring Grace Community Church in Ft. Lauderdale, kicked off the second session of the Pastor’s Conference on Monday morning.

He began by recalling what a pastor once said to his people: “be nice to everyone because they might be having a tough time,” and then he added one group he perceives as having a tough time is pastors. He then read out of 2 Timothy 1:3-12 and encouraged pastors with the same words Paul encouraged Timothy with in his pastoral ministry.

Like Timothy, pastors sometimes lose heart and enthusiasm and zeal wanes. “Fan the flames of ministry,” he said.

Next, he encouraged pastors to not be ashamed of what they preach. “We are tempted to be ashamed in this antagonistic culture, but we must continue to declare that the Bible is the inerrant word of God.”

Suffering, he said next, is part of ministry. “When we become pastors, we are on the devil’s hit list…We are to share in the suffering.”

Finally, Symonette encouraged pastors to protect their ministry. “Hold fast to the pattern of sound words…they are not sound words if they don’t engender love for the neighbor and if they don’t center on Christ.”

After a time of worship led by United in Worship, Dean Inserra, pastor of City Church in Tallahassee, brought a message of encouragement and challenge under the title of ‘Contending for the Right and Proper Fear.’

Speaking out of John 12:42-43, Inserra pointed out that despite many believing in Christ for salvation, they were afraid to profess Jesus publicly for fear of being banned from the synagogue. Inserra believes that likewise pastors often struggle with the fear of losing human approval.

Inserra encouraged pastors to examine their hearts and determine what the source of their fear is – job security, job comfort and human approval are just some of the possible traps. Churches that are on mission are being led by pastors who fear God more than they desire the approval of man.

“If Jesus came to seek and save the lost and we’re not doing the same, are we leading our churches well?” Inserra asked.

Inserra said in addition to regular heart checks, pastors need to lead their churches with courage and conviction rather than fear because when the only approval you are working for is the Lord’s, the approval of man becomes meaningless. Pastors also need to lead with consistency and patience, understanding that the process of gaining credibility in the life of an unbeliever takes time and a possible change of heart could take even longer.

Inserra encouraged pastors to remember the Gospel is for them too – not just their congregations. “The Gospel you passionately preach daily is the same Gospel that will save you from the fear of man.”

Inserra believes the greatest hindrance to the Great Commission today is the fear of man.

“God has entrusted you with a flock – are you just managing their calendars for them or mobilizing them to be on mission?”

After another interlude of worship, David Hughes, pastor of Church by the Glades in Coral Springs, closed the second session of the Pastor’s Conference with a message out of Hebrews 4:12.

“The Word of God is alive,” he started. “You might preach on tithing and someone gets saved.” He also described the Bible as a righteous weapon of divine duality. “The Bible doesn’t contradict itself, it compliments itself.” He focused his sermon on three topics where the Bible seems to contradict itself but in fact it compliments itself.

“When your church prospers, is it spiritual or practical? It’s both.” All the credit goes to Jesus, he said, but the church must also work because God blesses the work.

Another topic on which the Bible compliments itself, he continued, is in the topic of generosity. “If we give, God promises to give to us also in tangible and intangible ways…God calls us to trust him and to release with reckless generosity.” It might seem contradictory to tie love to finances but love does have a financial component, he added, which is illustrated in the Bible.

Finally, he touched on salvation and whether it is by election or free will that we are saved. “You might not agree and that is okay, but I think it’s both.” In some places the Bible says we have been chosen and in other places that we choose, he said. “I get it, we can’t put it together, but they are both in the word. We are trying to fit an unlimited God into a box.”

Pastors Conference SESSION 1

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