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COMMITTEE ON CHRISTIAN EDUCATION FEATURE

Surf’s Up at the Timothy Conference!

David Winslow, Jr.

The tenth annual OPC Timothy Conference will be held next April 5–8 in Southern California. Thus begins what is planned as the third cycle around the country over the next four years.

Pastor Mark Schroeder and his congregation, Harvest OPC in San Marcos, will serve as the host church. They are close to Westminster Seminary California in Escondido, where parts of the conference will be held, and are also just a short drive to the Pacific Ocean. That’s where ultimate frisbee on the beach or a quick surfing lesson could come in, since we always try to plan an activity at the conference suited to its particular location. Two of our planned conference speakers are surfers, and all of them can speak to the value of enjoyable exercise.

This, of course, is just the wrapper to a conference package that at its heart is a challenge to godly young men in our churches to consider whether the Lord is calling them into gospel ministry, and how to prepare for that calling even now.

While this is a free conference for those who attend, it represents an investment of the offerings that support Worldwide Outreach and the ministry of the Committee on Christian Education. We are sowing seeds that can take a long time to bear fruit in the Lord’s church and in his harvest field (please see Caleb Smith’s story at the right). However, we are convinced that it is a good investment, a faithful one that will bless the church—and even your congregation.

Who may attend the conference? We accept session-nominated young men who are juniors in high school to sophomores in college, ages 16–22. We expect them to come from all over the country, provided they are willing to adjust their academic schedules to attend. Whether you are a seasoned member of your church, the pastor, a mother or father, or young adult, look around your congregation and consider if there is a young man in your church who should be encouraged to attend the conference. If they are interested, have them speak to your pastor or a member of your session.

Conference Speakers

What they will receive at the conference is instruction from ministers with experience in missionary, pastoral, and seminary ministry. These men will explain what is involved in becoming an OP minister of the gospel.

  • The Office of the Minister. Dr. John Fesko will lead off the conference with a lecture on who the minister is, especially the pastor, and the work that he is called to do. This lecture is an eye opener, which our attendees often point to as giving them a much greater appreciation for their own pastor.
  • The Call to the Ministry. Pastor Jonathan Moersch will explore with the students the different aspects of the call to ministry, including the internal work of the Spirit and the external involvement of the church. All the speakers will share informally how the Lord called them into their gospel labors.
  • The Seminary Education. Dr. David VanDrunen will explain why a seminary degree is so important and what to expect in a seminary education. His lecture will be enhanced by interaction with seminary students and classes on the Westminster campus.
  • The Process toward Ordination. The Rev. Danny Olinger will lay out for the students each step of the way that lies before candidates for the ministry. But with his well-known encouraging smile, he will assure the students that with the church involved, they may expect the Lord’s blessing for the challenges they meet on the journey.
  • Preparing for the Ministry Now. Pastor Christopher Chelpka will wrap up the conference lectures with practical wisdom on what young men can be doing in their personal development and service in the church to prepare them to follow God’s calling.

These five essential lectures, attendance at a seminary class, meals with the speakers, and meeting seminarians who are just a few steps ahead along the path to ordination are all part of what makes this conference a great experience.

The ribbon on the conference package is the wonderful peer fellowship of like-minded young men committed to exploring God’s calling upon their lives. As Ben Hoekstra said after the 2015 Conference, “My time at the Timothy Conference was incredibly enriching. Beyond sessions with all the speakers, I was blessed with deep, meaningful, Spirit-filled conversations with other attendees and the speakers.”

Application Deadline

The application deadline is January 15, 2017! Download the application and the conference prospectus at OPC.org on the Christian Education page, Timothy Conference.

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