Timothy Conference Goes to the Sunshine State

Joel D. Fick

We have more information about the church at Ephesus than virtually any other church in the New Testament. We can read about its planting in Acts 19, when Paul together with Aquila and Priscilla labored together to see the work started in this key city of Asia minor. We can read of Paul’s encouragements to the Ephesians in his letter of the same name (which, even if not specifically intended for them, certainly came to them in a circular way). Paul wrote that their union with Christ must manifest itself in the way they walk. We also read of the Lord’s direct encouragements and warnings to this church in the book of Revelation. They were zealous for truth but had abandoned their first love.

But perhaps the best window we have into the life of the church at Ephesus is Paul’s letters to its pastor, the man whom we know as Timothy. Pastor Timothy had been trained from his youth in the Scriptures, and his gifts had become evident from a young age, but what a privilege it was for pastor Timothy to have a faithful, seasoned father in the faith like Paul! Paul not only recognized Timothy’s gifts but had walked the road of ministry before him and could encourage him and challenge him “to fan into flame the gift of God which is in you” (2 Tim. 1:6).

The Timothy Conference

The OPC’s Committee on Christian Education created the Timothy Conference in 2008 as a way of identifying, encouraging, and even preparing young men like Timothy as they consider whether or not the Lord may be calling them to gospel ministry. This year, the CCE’s Subcommittee on Ministerial Training invites conference participants to sunny Orlando in the Sunshine State—Florida.

The conference will be held from April 11 to 14 and will be hosted by our two Orlando churches, Lake Sherwood OPC and Reformation OPC. Parts of the conference will be held on the beautiful campus of RTS Orlando where students will get a sense of what seminary life is like.

The Timothy Conference is a wonderful opportunity for students to consider their calling while enjoying fellowship with other godly young men from around the OPC in the city of Orlando.

Conference Speakers and Topics

At the conference, seasoned pastors will help students understand the call to pastoral ministry, what the call involves, how they might prepare for it now, and what the actual process of becoming ordained looks like in the OPC.

  • The Office of the Minister. Stephen Oharek (pastor of Reformation OPC in Oviedo, Florida) will give an overview of what it means to be a minister, including the nature of the office together with its responsibilities and privileges.
  • The Call to the Ministry. Joel Fick (pastor of Redemption OPC in Gainesville, Florida, and a member of the Subcommittee on Ministerial Training) will consider questions related to the call to ministry. What does it mean to be called to the ministry? And how might one know that he is called?
  • Seminary Education: What and Why. Dr. David VanDrunen (professor at Westminster Seminary California and a member of the Subcommittee on Ministerial Training) will explain what a Reformed seminary education involves and why it is necessary for future ministers.
  • Preparing for the Ministry Now. Geoff Downey (pastor of Lake Sherwood OPC in Orlando, Florida) will explore how participants might begin personally preparing for a life of ministry even now as they order their lives and set their hearts to know the Lord.
  • The Process Toward Ordination. Rev. Danny E. Olinger (general secretary of the Committee on Christian Education) will sew together the various elements of instruction received at the conference in a discussion of the required steps that candidates for ministry in the OPC must undergo in the ordination process. He will discuss the specific requirements, which include coming under care, licensure, and ordination, while also talking about when and where seminary and internships fit into the process.

Application Information

While the Timothy Conference is free to the students who attend, it represents the investment of the whole church through the funds given to Worldwide Outreach. We are investing in the future of the OPC and are looking for young men of piety and ability whom the Lord may be raising up to labor in his vineyard. To that end, we ask sessions to help us identify godly young men in their congregations between the ages of 16 and 21 whom they believe would benefit from such a conference. If there is a young man in your church who seems to fit the bill, would you consider asking if he’d be willing to attend?

If he is both willing and able to attend, please fill out the application form (available on the Christian Education page of OPC.org) and submit it by email to the CCE’s Subcommittee on Ministerial Training (danny.olinger@opc.org). The application deadline is January 15, 2019. Help us as we seek to follow Paul’s instruction together: “What you have heard from me … entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).

The author is pastor of Redemption OPC in Gainesville, Florida.