Well, I got back from ElderLink late last night. It’s about a three-hour drive, except we were caught in some pretty awful weather and behind a horrendous wreck and in between those walls of concrete and piles of asphalt which Georgians call “construction,” which I’d believe except for the fact that “construction” at some point gets finished and this is eternal. It’s not “construction” — it’s a “way of life” for the poor denizens of central Georgia. I’m glad to be home!
(And do these people not know the difference between an Interstate and a parking lot?)
And so it was a very long day — made worse by the 8:15 start time, which is Eastern Time, and God made me with a Central Time Zone body, and so it was a long ol’ day.
I got to meet a couple of readers there: Alan Rouse and Rod Woodfin, which was sheer delight. I wish the schedule had left more time to talk! I also ran into a woman who’d just read my book The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace, published well over a decade ago!
They changed the structure a bit this year. We had fewer classes but three truly excellent speakers: John Siburt, John York, and Earl Lavender. Alan summarizes these well at his blog.
Despite the name, each year’s program is well suited not only to elders but to ministers and anyone else in leadership or who is gifted for leadership but looking for training.
The Churches of Christ have long been weak in elder and leader training, and this is the best thing going for those who, like me, will never get a Masters of Divinity.
I’ve long been frankly astonished at how few elders take the trouble to go to these events. I mean, they’re well attended — hundreds were there — but as a percentage of those who should have been there, it’s a pretty pitiful yield. The programs are consistently good and are getting better each year.
I have to suppose that the problem is the reputation of Abilene Christian as “liberal,” but at least this “liberal” institution cares enough to put on these excellent, practical programs.
And so, fellow elders, ministers, deacons, and ministry leaders — you don’t have to tell anyone you’re going! Just go and learn from some of the best the Churches of Christ have to offer.
I should add: the program has always been co-sponsored by ACU and Lipscomb. Lipscomb has not always looked so good in comparison. I’m a Lipscomb graduate and have been a bit disappointed in my old alma mater. I could go on … But I’m starting to see that things are getting much better.
Earl Lavender’s and John York’s presentations were just extraordinary. DLU has still got some work to do, but the Bible faculty is looking pretty strong.