On Thursday, March 5, pastors, students, and ministry leaders from across the region gathered in Chatlos Chapel for the annual Church Leaders Conference: a one-day event that gives attendees the opportunity to meet with other ministry leaders and to learn more about effective ministry practices. This year, the conference focused on “Shepherding Christ’s Church.”
The University gladly welcomed Dr. Timothy Witmer as the keynote speaker. Dr. Witmer has been a pastor in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) for over 40 years, and, until his recent retirement, he served as a professor and coordinator of the department of practical theology at Westminster Seminary. Along with pastoring and teaching, Dr. Witmer has written three books, including a book pertaining to this year’s major theme, The Shepherd Leader: Achieving Effective Shepherding in Your Church.
The day kicked off with the Alumni Pastors Breakfast in Manor Hall. This breakfast brought pastors and Cairn representatives together to discuss how the University can best support their churches. Later in Chatlos Chapel, the conference officially began with a time of singing and Dr. Witmer’s first main session.
In his two sessions, Dr. Witmer spoke on shepherding local congregations. The content of the presentations came largely from his book, which articulates his seven essentials to effective shepherding. Dr. Witmer urged his listeners that shepherding must be biblical, systematic, comprehensive, relational, functional, accountable, and prayerful.
The conference then dispersed into parallel sessions in the Biblical Learning Center. Attendees could choose from four possibilities:
- “Paul’s Shepherding in Thessalonica” with Dr. Jonathan Master
- “Shepherding and Discipleship Shaped by Doctrine” with John Biegel
- “Shepherding Teens in a Digital Age” with Dr. Matt McAlack
- “Shepherding through Visitation” with Henry Jansma
Moving from the breakout sessions to lunch, attendees finally came back together for the second main session and an open Q&A with Dr. Witmer.
In addition to the information from these sessions, conference attendees left with a copy of Dr. Witmer’s The Shepherd Leader. The conference was once again an encouraging time for ministry leaders as they continue to strive to shepherd their congregations well.
Special thanks to this year’s sponsor, Servant Keeper Church Management Software. Their support is part of what made this event possible.