Northwest Conference: Sharing the Nuts and Bolts
Story by Margot Bass
Photos by Robyn Leingang
Leaders from Calvary Chapels in the Pacific Northwest pray at the Northwest Leaders and Ministry Workers Conference at CC Tri-Cities in Kennewick, WA, in April.
Men and women attending the Northwest Leadership and Ministry Workers Conference in April 2019 were empowered by learning the “nuts and bolts” of ministry and encouraged to persevere in difficult times. Approximately 300 pastors, leaders, and whole ministry teams from 40 different churches in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana attended the event held at Calvary Chapel Tri-Cities in Kennewick, WA.
The theme of the conference, “Doing Ministry Well,” reflects the service-oriented goal of the gathering, said CC Tri-Cities Senior Pastor Steve Whinery. “We’re supposed to be expanding the kingdom of God—this is all about Jesus. And we’ve got a lot of small churches around here, many just starting out. I wanted to help them in the ministry,” Steve explained. “I think that some of the mistakes pastors make have to do with basics, not knowing what the Lord has to say about situations. Anything you can do to point people to the Word of God, and how God wants things done, makes ministry a whole lot easier for the pastor, his wife, and the leadership.”
Breakout sessions addressed a wide spectrum of issues: thriving as a lead pastor; the role of assistants in the church; counseling; encouragement for women; sound, video and media needs on a budget; church finances; children and youth ministry; and evangelism, missions, and church planting. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Main speakers for the three-day event were Senior Pastor Sandy Adams of CC Stone Mountain, GA; Senior Pastor Dennis Davenport of CC of the High Desert, Hesperia, CA; and Pastor Dallas Sandoval of CC Toppenish, WA.
Increased Confidence to Serve
Peggy Farrell and her husband Dan, pastor of CC Connell, WA, were called to lead their existing church just a year before the conference. She came away with more confidence in her role as a pastor’s wife. “It’s really easy to get hung up on all the details of ministry. Now I’m not so intimidated or worried about making a mistake,” Peggy admitted. “I was so afraid of hurting someone’s feelings.” She said she learned, “If I’m doing ministry well and following what God has called me to do, I need not be worried about conflict.”
Senior Pastor Dennis Davenport of CC of the High Desert in Hisperia, CA, leads a session.
CC Tri-Cities Associate Pastor Mitch Dunfee and his wife Marci led a session focusing on how to effectively offer counseling. Peggy recounted, “They were thorough and went through it step-by-step, breaking the process down to taking good notes, learning to share God’s Word, and using [biblical] discernment.” Donna Davenport, wife of Pastor Dennis Davenport, urged pastors’ wives to be responders, not reactors, to their spiritual flock. Peggy remarked that she was encouraged by Donna’s admonishment: “The Father (God) found all His pleasure in the Son (Jesus), and the Son found all His pleasure in doing well for the Father. Am I doing that? Is my work well done and God’s Word well-used?”
Young Adults Welcomed
Joe Edwards-Hoff, pastor of CC-affiliate The Revival Church, formerly Grandview Christian Church, WA, found joy in taking along a group of “zealous” young adult members from his congregation. “The whole event reminded me of a senior pastors’ conference, which is always such a highlight of my year, a magical time,” he said. His young leaders enjoyed a special encounter with speaker Sandy Adams. “I promised them I’d introduce them to Sandy. A lot of the kids listen to him and were excited to be able to meet him.” After the introduction, a young woman, Alexis, asked Sandy if she could pray for him. “Then all the kids laid hands on him and prayed for him. He in turn prayed for them. I’m so proud of them stepping up and praying for a pastor they look up to, taking the initiative,” Joe affirmed. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! (Psalm 133:1).
Left to right: Steve Whinery, senior pastor of CC Tri-Cities, Dennis Davenport, and Senior Pastor Sandy Adams of CC Stone Mountain, GA, enjoy fellowship at the conference.
A young pastor himself, Joe gleaned wisdom from more experienced leaders, especially in the counseling session. “I don’t come to these conferences expecting something brand-new, but reinforcement of things I need to be reminded of. The Bible contains all things pertaining to life and godliness, but sometimes it’s great having someone with 30 years of experience tell you their experiences from all their years of counseling,” he related.
Setting the Compass Right
Dan Renshaw, pastor of Calvary Chapel Cle Elum, WA, looks forward to conferences for inspiration to remain faithful. “We all know that ministry can be difficult, with challenges and discouragement. Sometimes people are even tempted to quit,” Dan observed. “We all need to be recharged and have our compass set right so that we’re moving in the right direction, not clouded by the day-to-day issues that sometimes get the best of us.”
“And I will make you to this people a fortified bronze wall; … for I am with you to save you and deliver you,” says the LORD. Jeremiah 15:20
He described a teaching from Sandy Adams named “The Call of the Wild,” based on Acts chapter 10, which describes when the Apostle Peter was called to minister to a Gentile household. “Sandy talked about being willing to launch out into new and sometimes uncomfortable types of ministry that God may call us to. We are creatures of habit and gravitate to the rut instead of the risk,” Dan recounted. “If you’re going to do ministry well, you can’t be in the rut.”
The next Northwest conference will be held July 30-August 1, 2020.
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