Twenty-three years ago, encouraged by my colleague Jeff Mills, we began a conference with the goal of helping pastors to keep on in Gospel ministry. Sensing that we needed to give the conference a name, we settled on Basics. Our thinking was both simple and straightforward: rather than setting unrealistic or unattainable goals, we would focus on the fundamentals of being servants of the Word. Around that time, I had read a book which analyzed the success of various companies and was struck by the observation that despite the unique aspects of each company, what was true of them all was their ability to “do the basics well most of the time.”
This principle holds true for a golf swing, for marriage, and also for pastoral ministry.
Over the years, we have benefitted from the ministry of a variety of pastors who have joined us at Basics to share their experience and insight. Some of them have gone on to glory, but their legacy remains. This year we welcome Colin Smith (a fellow Scot), Bible teacher at Open the Bible ministry and pastor of The Orchard in Chicago, and Hershael York, dean of Southern Seminary’s School of Theology and pastor of Buck Run Baptist Church in Kentucky. We are seeking to encourage the 1500 attendees to be faithful servants in an increasingly fearful world and to boldly proclaim the message of the cross—a message that is regarded as foolish.
It is appropriate that the daily program this month will include a series in 1 Timothy. Paul reminds his young partner to work in such a manner that unbelievers will be converted and grow into useful members of the local church and to be unashamed in sharing the Gospel. You will immediately recognize how close this is to our stated purpose as a ministry.
Please tell your pastor that he can watch the conference via the livestream at basicsconference.org beginning at 3:00 p.m. eastern on May 8.
I have recently enjoyed meeting a number of Truthpartners who have visited us at Parkside, and if your travel plans for the summer bring you in this direction, please come and say hello.
With my love in the Lord Jesus,
PS: Second Timothy 4:5 is the verse which underpins our approach to Basics: “As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” Please pray for us all to this end.