In a very enjoyable gathering, close to forty ministers from all over the continent met together for the first URCNA Ministers’ Conference. The theme of the conference was focused upon the necessity of humility in the pastorate. It began on the evening of May 12 with an address by Dr. Joel Beeke, the President of the Puritan Reformed Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where the conference was held.
The next day, Dr. Tim Trumper of Seventh Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan presented a sermon on Revelation 1:12, 13, which was followed by an address from Dr. Bob Godfrey of Westminster Theological Seminary in Escondido, California. Dr. Godfrey challenged ministers to be filled with humility in their calling, certainty, and charity. He warned against a false holiness and vain curiosities.
Dr. J. Mark Beach of Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana challenged his colleagues to focus on humility not only in their lives but also in their preaching, reminding them that all sins flee from God but pride alone. He offered some necessary remedies for ministers who think too highly of themselves, such as prayer, service, and suffering.
Dr. Richard Gamble spoke on the theme of serving the Lord with a humble systematic theology, stressing personal piety in the ministry. Dr. Arjan de Visser of the Theological School in Hamilton, Ontario offered a lecture on church planting. The conference came to a close on Saturday, May 14 with Rev. Trumper offering a sermon on Revelation 1:14–16.
The conference also provided time for ministers to visit the various Christian bookstores in the Grand Rapids area, visit with friends, and get acquainted with others. It was a blessing to see ministers from New Jersey and British Columbia get together for spiritual nurture. Too often the only time for such opportunities to get together is for the business of synod and time spent on committees. At the conference, ample time was given for fellowship with brothers who yearn to be faithful to their calling. A variety of topics were covered on how to work in the kingdom of God with a heart that seeks to serve the Lord in humility.
A special word of appreciation is given to Rev. Harold Miller and Rev. Harry Zekveld for taking the initiative to head up so noble a project as putting together the first conference for URCNA pastors. This is a huge step for the URCNA to take as she moves away from the baby steps we have been taking to acknowledge ourselves as a growing group of churches that need to be brought together in ways other than ecclesiastical meetings. We trust that the positive aspect of this conference will inspire more URCNA ministers to participate in future years.