Day three was really when the conference proper started. We kicked off with a Q&A session about the Elder meeting with Matt Schmucker. As I said in my previous post the elder meetings that Resolved has and that CHBC has are very similar so there were no burning questions that I had to ask or get answers to in this section. After this Mark Dever and Matt Schmucker took us through a potted history of CHBC. This may sound boring but this might have been the highlight of the weekender for me. To hear a Pastor like Dever talk about where the church was and hear about the battles he fought and what he did and why was amazing. It helped me, as a young pastor, to think about my ministry in the long term not in the quick battle.
Here are the sixteen lessons that Dever has learnt in his time at CHBC:
1. Consider future generations in decisions the church makes
2. Be straight forward with your search committee, even telling them the things they may not like about you. This helps put the candidacy in Gods hands not your own
3. As a candidate tell the church what they can or cannot expect from your wife
4. Move slowly. Generally speaking, don’t plan on changing any practices in the beginning. If there’s something you will change immediately, tell them before they hire you.
5. Every element of the public service teaches and leads the congregation. Therefore, it should be given elder/pastoral oversight.
6. In your services, beware of entertainment culture; beware of manipulating emotions.
7. Be deliberate about each gathering of the church. What is its purpose?
8. Beware of sacred cows. Choose your battles wisely.
9. Promote congregational singing! Consider the advantages of music that is mere and enhancing
10. Clean your membership role as quickly as you can
11. Ask yourself, what am I doing to raise up future pastors?
12. Consider whether or not members of the church know what’s expected of them as members. Is there a church covenant? Is it used? How do you teach your church what it means to be a member? How are these lessons reinforced?
13. Don’t lead your church through change before they are ready. Don’t lead your church through change before there is a consensus
14. Expect to be opposed from unexpected places when leading change.
15. Once, maybe twice, in the process of transition, you may have to be willing to put your job on the line.
16. Always hold your job with a loose grip
At lunch we had assigned seating and on each of tables was a staff member so we could ask any questions we had. After lunch we had a session on church discipline by Jonthan Leeman. The main things I was reminded of were:
1. You need to think through what membership looks like in your church
2. You need to have a process of church discipline
3. Church discipline doesn’t need to be done quickly in all circumstances
4. You need to teach, teach, teach and teach on church discipline before you do it.
We also received a free copy of Jonathans book The Church and the Surprising Offense of God’s Love which I will read and post a review of soon. We then had elective sessions, I chose to go to the one on choosing elders. I was reminded that an elder is first and foremost a pastor and he needs to be doing pastoral work before he is asked to be an elder and he needs to be able to handle the scriptures and theology well. We then broke for dinner and after that we went to the membership classes.
Points of learning:
Time – the whole day it was stressed to look at ministry as a long term thing. It is a marathon not a sprint. I was thinking about Resolved and it encouraged me to think I will be at Resolved for decades and even though I want things to happen in Acts like proportions what I need to remember is that gospel work should be viewed over months, years and decades not hours, days and weeks.
Teaching before change – I want things to change now! But if we take the long term we can teach, teach, teach and teach about a change before it happens. Dever said to teach on something so much so that people will ask “Why aren’t we doing that?” and then you know it is time to change.
Intentionality – Dever is intentional about everything. He has thought deeply about everything to do with the ministry at Capitol Hill Baptist and he has implemented it all. I have been challenged to think deeply about everything we do not just the things I like to think about.
Surround yourself with the right people – It is not good enough to say we need an elder/youthgroup leader/pastor you need the right one. The best ones are home grown. I saw this as everyone on pastoral staff at CHBC has at least been an intern at CHBC.