Friday, September 16, 2011

The Weekender, Day 1

As I stated yesterday, I am at "The Weekender," a conference put on by 9Marks Ministries in conjunction with Capitol Hill Baptist Church. It is a smaller conference where the church pulls back the curtain and lets you look behind how they operate the church. I will try to make each day's comments brief, but there are a few things I want to point out about last night's activities.

Welcome & Orientation
The staff and volunteers at Capitol Hill Baptist Church were just great. For starters, there was a mix up with my hotel and the free shuttle they "supposedly offered" and we were not able to take it. So we drove the short distance to the church and they allowed me to park in their very small parking lot. We were greeted with smiles and kindness. I can't express enough how welcoming the people of the church have been. We have been offered plenty to drink and snacks to eat. We were even given several free books, which of course made them special in my eyes.

Elders Meeting
The bulk of the first night was observing an elders meeting. I have been to many elders meetings in my life. Some have been good, some have been long, and some have been boring. But usually most of the elders meetings I have participated in have been very similar. But they did some things in their meeting last night that really impressed me.

First, they began the meeting with a song. Of course, it helps having 14 men around the table plus many interns that were sitting nearby. And it was even better having another one hundred men singing "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing." I do wonder how it would be to have the eight of us in our elders meeting singing, but maybe we will have to try at some point.

Then they read Scripture together. I guess they read the passage and context of the next weeks message. This week, they read 2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:18. But they incorporated prayer with the reading of Scripture. They went around their table and each guy said a short prayer of praise on that text, whatever made an impact on them.

I was also encouraged to see how they shepherded each other. They went around the table and each man shared how they were doing and what the other men could pray for them. Then they each prayed for the man on their right. Then as the meeting ended, they went around and shared thoughts of thankfulness for one of the men who is going off the elder board. The things they shared about this man was deeply personal and thoughtful. It appears they know each other as elders and are leading their church arm in arm.

Now, the thing that impressed me the most of this elders meeting is how they care, pray, and shepherd their people. This week, they went through their membership role, names that end with J & K, and asked how each person is doing spiritually. And someone around the table had something to say about each one of the 46 names on that list. Let me emphasize that again, they knew something about the spiritual life of each person on their membership list, names ending with J or K. Then they prayed through every single name.

I was deeply convicted that I do not do that as I should. I was convicted that there are some at our church that I do not know about their spiritual condition. There are probably some at Cornerstone that not any elder knows of their spiritual condition. We need to do better at this and we need to spend more time in prayer for the body of believers. If any member of Capitol Hill Baptist Church ever reads this, trust me, it seems very apparent that your elders pray for you!

Today is a very busy day. I will try to post some later or at least tomorrow morning. Thankful so far.

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