I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at Refresh next month. We’ll meet at Church at the Gates in Missoula on October 7-8. Last year, we cut the meeting back to one day. Not this year! We’ll be together the whole day and a half. As you know, we pack a lot into this meeting, and very little of it is business. For starters, we’ll be able to worship together with the Church at the Gates worship team leading us. I so enjoy worshipping with our MTSBC family. This is always a time of spiritual renewal for me.
Then, we get to hear from many of our MTSBC ministry team leaders. Darren Hales has crisscrossed the state the past year meeting with pastors and other church leaders. He has also brought many training opportunities into our state to help lay leaders in our churches hone their skills. Effective church ministry requires more than well-equipped pastors. Churches can’t be nearly as effective as they need to be without a lot of volunteer lay leaders sharing their spiritual gifts, too. Darren has been a tremendous blessing to these men and women through the training opportunities he has made available this past year. You’ll also hear from our new lead church planting catalyst, Lee Merck. Lee is a church planter, himself. He lives and breathes church planting. I have enjoyed spending time with Lee this year and hearing his entrepreneurial approach to planting churches in Montana. You’re going to enjoy hearing what God is leading him and his team to do to help us plant churches all across the state in the coming years.
You’re also going to hear some great preaching. Our convention president, KJ Ellington, will surely challenge us to walk closely with God and trust Him to do great things in our communities. You’ll also hear from our new Yellowstone Christian College president Dr. Marvin Jones. Dr. Jones has been here less than a year, but I believe most of our pastors already know his name. He has traveled all across the state and preached the word faithfully and powerfully. He is also going to bring a report about YCC. I’m sure most of you know that YCC has recently bought a beautiful new campus in Kalispell. You’re going to want to hear how all of that came about and what amazing things God is doing there.
We also have many representatives from our SBC entities coming to talk to us about what God is doing as we emerge from the COVID lockdowns. You probably have some questions about some things you’ve been hearing about in SBC life. I think you’ll be pleased with the answers you’ll get as you visit with these folks at their exhibit tables. We also have an International Missionary Board missionary from South America with us. I’m looking forward to hearing him share about what God is doing around the world and how I can pray more effectively for our missionaries.
Of course, this is our annual business meeting, so we’ll need to do some business, too. But, it’s all good. The MTSBC continues to operate in the black. I’ll have some really great news to share with you about where we stand financially and how we’ve set aside money to help our existing churches and our church plants be able to dream big and do big for the Lord’s Kingdom. We’ll also be electing a lot of new members for our Executive Board and our committees and other boards. Some of you are probably wondering how things are going with our relationship with the North American Mission Board. I’ll have some fantastic news to share with you about the five-year funding agreement we just entered into with NAMB.
We also have three breakouts planned. Keith Evans will lead a breakout on pastoring for the long term. Pastoral ministry is one of the most demanding roles God can call a man into. In addition to the long hours and many crises, a pastor must often work with very few resources while he tries to be there for his family, his church, and his community. Keith has been there, too. He’ll have some great counsel to help you pastor well for the long term. As promised, we’ll also have an evangelism training breakout. Brad Bennett is coming over from Missouri to share with us how to be more effective witnesses for Christ. Brad’s ministry is all about sharing his faith. I know you’ll get some really helpful pointers from him. I encourage you to bring some laypeople from your church for this. We will never reach enough people to change the spiritual environment in Montana if the only ones sharing the gospel are our pastors and a handful of faithful laypeople. Let’s make sure we’ve provided training for our church family, too. The third breakout will be led by my wife Denise. She’ll meet with our pastors’ wives and minister to them. Too often, the loneliest person in the church is the pastor’s wife. She often bears the burdens of her children’s needs, her husband’s challenges, the needs in her church, and her own ministry in silence. This breakout gives our pastors’ wives a chance to turn some of that burden over to the Lord. Pastors, you should make sure your wives are able to be at this breakout.
In addition to all of that, there is plenty of time for fellowship. I know many of you only see each other at these statewide meetings. I can tell you enjoy it. Indeed, I believe you need it. We have lots of time worked into our brief schedule for you to relax with brothers and sisters in Christ, get some good laughs, bear some burdens, pray together, and go back truly refreshed.
I hope you’ll join us for Refresh. You can find everything you need to know online at www.mtsbc.org/refresh. Please register right away. We need to know how many people are coming. There is also information about hotels. The hotels are a little bit of a drive from the church, so you’ll want to get one that’s close. Don’t wait too long.
See you at Refresh.