After three days in Seaside, OR we are heading home (after we reclaim the kids in Portland). While it was nice to be at the beach for a rare sunny and warm snap, we came to gather with other pastors and church leaders to revel in the truth of the gospel and be encouraged. Both of these goals were soundly met. The event was the CBNW Annual Enrichment Conference and while I was blessed by Jared C. Wilson's series of messages on 2 Corinthians 3 (which I will share here eventually,) it is the people who made the week worthwhile.
253 churches make up the CBNW in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska. The diversity among church style and locale is often significant, but by mission we desire to be in covenant with each other and build our churches on and with the gospel. And in the two years that I have been part of CBNW it has been clear to me that these covenantal relationships run deep which has been what draws me to the association.
While I serve on a large staff, it is nearly impossible for me to go through the day lonely, but for many of these pastors they return to smaller churches where they are the only ones in a quiet office doing vital work. These are men planting churches in meth addicted communities. These are men and their families trying to put down roots in communities while living through the challenges of leading hurting people. These are men reveling in the health of mature ministries. These are men laboring to see the local church revitalized. These are men with vision and passion for gospel ministry. It is these men that come together to rally each other and savor Jesus together so that they can face what lies ahead.
Being among these men and their wives has been energizing and I am greatly encouraged by being part of this "motley bunch of fools" for years to come.