As part of its mission statement, Cairn University is committed to educating students to serve Christ in the church, society, and the world. These spheres of influence are not mutually exclusive; in other words, all students are to serve Christ in the church. The University as a whole is committed to preparing, and to serving, those who serve Christ in the church. As an extension of that commitment, on Thursday, April 11, 2013, 87 leaders from local congregations gathered at Cairn for the first annual Church Leaders’ Conference. The conference was designed to encourage, support, and connect those ministering in local churches in the region.
The conference was a one-day conference, with two main sessions and three parallel, breakout sessions. The main speaker this year was Dr. Kent Hughes, Pastor Emeritus of College Church in Wheaton, author of numerous books, and editor of the Preach the Word series of expositional commentaries. Dr. Hughes taught from 2 Corinthians on the theme of “Strength Through Weakness.” He also spent considerable time talking about his own experiences in ministry, especially his early years as a pastor in California. He noted how discouraged he had become and how unbiblically he had defined success during those early days. In addition, he showed how the Bible consistently shows the grace of God flowing in and through the conduit of human weakness. The ministers’ weakness shows the sufficiency of God’s strength and grace. The breakout sessions also dealt with this theme in more specific ways. There was a session on ministering amidst criticism; ministering through physical suffering; and ministering with sincerity.
Serving Christ in the church lies close to the heart of Cairn’s mission. At last Thursday’s first annual Church Leaders’ Conference, the University community had the privilege of hosting those who are making a significant contribution to just this cause.