Thinking About Pastoral Ministry
The Hub Conference 2020 was attended by around 70 individuals exploring the next steps on their journey into vocational ministry, along with a team of over 30 gospel workers who were there to offer advice and guidance. So what was the weekend like?
Ministry is hard. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it.
That was the message that came through loud and clear from this year’s Hub Conference that my wife Izzie and I attended. The Conference is for those thinking more about what full-time ministry might look like for them. Joining us were people from all over the country, and at all different stages of their path into ministry.
We’ve attended The Hub Conference three times now, and each time we have found it a great opportunity to really grapple with questions about ministry. It is also really beneficial to get to know others and share things we have learnt with them.
After arriving and enjoying a good meal, the conference started with Mez McConnell preaching from 2 Corinthians 1. It is easy to think that ministry is glamorous and to run after it because the grass seems greener, but Mez reminded us that ministry is difficult. He reminded us that more church plants fail than succeed, and even if they do succeed it’s not a bed of roses.
Something that struck me from that session was that loving people is key to the pastor’s job. And that is not something that always comes easily. Instead, Mez reminded us, we should press on and find our comfort in Jesus. We are to ‘pray, pray, pray’ and ‘lean into Jesus’ at all times.
On Saturday morning Mez spoke again, this time from Nehemiah 3. Here he challenged us to really think about how we serve in the church. The glory of God should be our first concern, not the praise and admiration we get from being at the front. To spend a good deal of time asking ‘who are we doing this for?’ was really beneficial to me, and others we spoke with over the weekend.
One of my favourite parts of The Hub is to be paired with a ministry couple who are further along their path. Izzie and I were able to ask a whole host of questions that were on our minds, as well as being encouraged in what we are currently doing. Being able to ask questions of anyone, including those on FIEC staff, makes this conference unmissable. Everyone is there to serve and really care for one another.
Another aspect that I really appreciate is the seminars. I attended one on working as a team, and one on friendship in ministry. As I have been training in my local church, these two areas have been vital. Having time to think specifically about them with others really benefited me. We also spent a session on Saturday afternoon praying for the needs of this nation, and for others to be raised to enter the harvest field.
Although it sounds like quite a packed schedule, it really isn’t. In fact, Izzie and I enjoyed a 2-hour nap in the afternoon, having left our 18-month-old daughter with relatives! There is plenty of time to walk around the grounds, chat with people, or get that well-needed rest.
Antidote for Anxiety
On the final day, we were helpfully guided through the antidote for anxiety by Richard Lacey. He spoke from Philippians 4 and reminded us that the Christian life should be joyful. Even though ministry hard, we can find joy in it. We can do that through a thankful prayer life, as we remember God’s goodness to us, and we can do that through a disciplined thought life as we remember the gospel. This encouragement was a great note to leave on and set us up for the journey home and beyond.
We cannot enthuse about The Hub Conference enough. We have brought people with us each year since we first arrived because we find it so beneficial to us. If you are thinking and praying about doing ministry, why not book onto the next one in 2021?
I can assure you it will be well worth your time.
The Hub Conference 2021 will take place from the 8-10 January. Full details will be available September 2020.
The three main talks from The Hub 2020 are available below.