Pastoral ministry can be one of the loneliest professions. It becomes very easy to know everyone at your church, but for nobody to really know you. That is just one more reason why I love going to conferences like Parkside's Basic Conference. There are many things I could say about the last day of the conference. The Q & A was insightful and entertaining. Alistair Begg's last message on the end of Jude was helpful. But I want to focus on the friendships that I was able to engage in this last day.
Throughout the conference, I spent time with a college friend, Josh Lough, who pastors in Wisconsin. It was encouraging to talk about everything from our churches to our families. We have always had a good relationship, where we can push each other on some minor theological points without feeling like we are condemning each other. We were able to rejoice with each other in the joys of ministry as well as hurt for each other on the hardships. I count it a privilege to have him as a friend.
And then there are my friends from Parkside. I am thankful for their investment in my life. I appreciate the thoughtful conversations I was able to have with Jonathan Holmes. I count it a blessing to being able to interact with Adam Romans. Along with the others I was able to talk to, these men have all played a significant role in my spiritual development.
Then there is my friend, Dave Fry. He is the pastor of a nearby church and has been a great help to me personally. Along with another friend, Dave and I get together once a month to encourage, challenge, and help each other run this race of the Christian life in ministry together. He is a good man with helpful insights into my life.
Finally, there is Luke Rosenberger. He is another pastor at our church. Since he came in August, 2012, I have enjoyed spending time with him. He has a great love for the church and the gospel. I am privileged to serve CBC alongside of him.
All of these men and many others help make my life what it is today. Friendships are rare these days. But Godly friendships that spur you on to continue your run in the Christian life is even rarer. I can't help but to think of the author of Hebrews words . . .
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:1-2)
I understand the cloud of witnesses that he is talking about are those that lived by faith in chapter 11. But in some way, I wonder if there are those in our lives today that live by faith that help us run as well. I want to be that for others and I need that in my life. So, thank you to all of you that have impacted me. And thank you to Parkside for hosting a conference that is much more than teaching. The aspect of bringing pastors together to come alongside each other for encouragement is priceless.