Conference Preparation: Forget About the Speakers

By Trillia Newbell

The Together for the Gospel conference has come and gone.  Many are looking towards the next conference when so-called “celebrity pastors” will fill in the plenary rosters and speak from God’s Word. Surely many will be eager to shake their hands and thank them for their delivery, their wisdom, their presence. I will be one of those heading to a conference soon and I hope that I will be one who would go down the long aisle to say, “Thank you!” But beyond that, I want to forget about these men (and women).  I want to remember them in my prayers, I want to remember their words for my up-building, but beyond that they should be forgotten.

I believe one of the most caring and loving ways I can serve my pastors and serve these “celebrities” is to forget them and follow Jesus.

“But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.” (1 Corinthians 3:1-9 ESV)

Divisions and strife are often a result of forgetting who we follow.  My pastors don’t need me to follow them, these speakers don’t need us to follow them. Jesus didn’t call me to take up my Cross and follow John Piper. Knowing the little I know about Dr. Piper, he would be appalled to hear someone worshipped him.

On a local level,  I’m eager to serve my pastors. I love my pastors. Pastors can often be elevated to “celebrity” status too. I want to show my love for my pastors by not following them.  My hope, faith and security must be found in Jesus Christ.

Who is this Jesus that I hope in?

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:15-20)

And so at my upcoming conference I will pray for those who will speak. I will be excited about the messages, I will be eager to learn and listen. But after, I will forget who they are and I will remember Christ.

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