By Danny Yoo
A question that often was asked of me during the conference was: “Is it what you expected?”
To answer that question, we must begin with what it was that I expected. For the past couple of years, I sought out the laymen who attended and asked them about their experiences. I asked laymen because this was a conference for pastors and elders, and I was always curious as to what a layman can get from a conference like this. All of the men I asked said it was well worth it regardless if you were a pastor or an elder. They talked about the amazing teaching and sweet fellowship. They also made note of the singing.
So, was it what I expected? Yes, and then some.
Indeed, the speakers were amazing. If you get a chance, please do search out the sessions on the Shepherds’ Conference website and listen to them. The one I recommend is Steve Lawson’s sermon, titled “The Costly Discipline of a Pastor.” Do not be afraid of the title. Lawson passionate appeal to discipline one’s self to “labor and strive” for godliness (1 Tim 4: 10) applies to all of us. That message will be the one that most likely will remain with me for a while.
Even the sessions and seminars that were geared more toward pastors and elders were profitable and applicable to me. I learned about different ways I could support our own pastors and elders in how they shepherd IBC. I also thought about how I can shepherd my family as the head of my household.
Indeed, the fellowship was sweet. It was a pleasure spending time with the other men of IBC outside of a busy Sunday. While it was natural to discuss the sermon or seminars we had just attended, we also talked with one another (often over lots of food) about our lives in general. How we lived as men, as husbands, as fathers, as men serving the church, and as men in the work place. This was truly a time set apart for men to fellowship with one another.
And yes, the singing should be noted. It was a unique experience to be amongst thousands of other men, raising our voices together and singing the praises of our God. I tried recording one of the songs for my wife Chris to listen, but the recording does not do it justice. I think this is one of those experiences that must be had in person.
In all, it was a great and unforgettable experience. I must thank Chris for her sacrifice during the conference. She was truly an encouragement to me by allowing me to leave her with our daughter for three days. (All the while being 38 weeks pregnant!) For wives who have husbands who are interested in the conference, please encourage them to attend.
I also want to thank the Yis for their hospitality. They opened up their home to allow me to stay closer to the conference, which made my commute much easier. For those of you who have homes near the conference, please consider opening up your homes for men who are attending. This was a great service to those of us who lived further away.
For men who want to go next year, I would say, “Go!” As a practical matter for next year’s conference, it is a four-day conference instead of three days. This will require planning and commitment for those of us who need to take off work.
2014 messages available here: http://www.shepherdsconference.org/media/