Monday, July 4, 2011

Pastors' Conference - Day 1

This morning was the first day of our pastors' conference. We had 45 pastors, pastors' wives and church leaders attend. Some of the people wrote down where they were from, so I know at least one person was from Tipitapa, which is about 60 miles away, on the other side of Managua, the capitol city. Others were from San Martin and Managua.

My plan for today was to discuss the big picture of the Bible, or what literary folks would call the metanarrative. We Christians often talk about the 66 books of the Bible. But, those 66 books fit together to make one book. My goal for today was to talk about that unity, and to show the single story of redemption that runs through the whole Bible.

We had two hour-long sessions, with a nice break in the middle. At the end, the people were asked to complete a short feedback survey, so I could improve for next time. I asked four questions:
1. What was the most valuable thing you learned today?
2. Was there anything today that wasn't useful? I explained this could be something they didn't like, or even something that they already knew, so they didn't need to spend time on it today.
3. Do you have any suggestions for our future meetings?
4. What questions do you have about what we discussed today?

Here are some of the responses:
  • Almost everyone said everything was useful. One person commented that the noise from the street construction outside wasn't useful, but he also noted that there's nothing we could do about that.
  • One asked about what it means to interpret the Bible literally, and how should we do that?
  • One wrote, 'The most beautiful thing I learned was how God closed the gate to Eden because of sin, but by his great mercy, at the end, he opens the gates and invites us in.'
  • Many of them asked for me to discuss end times theology and/or prophecy.
  • One suggested that I be a little more dynamic and be more specific in the information.
  • One wanted more information on the division between Israel (Northern Kingdom) and Judah (Southern Kingdom) after the death of Solomon.
  • Several asked for more sessions and/or said our time was too short. "Ampliar mas las ensenanzas." So, tomorrow Rafael and I are going emphasize we are available for them. Our original schedule was limited by when they said they were available. If they want more, we'll give them more.
  • One said that this morning was better than he expected. "Mucho mas de lo que esperaba aprendi algo diferente." Perhaps, if others have that same feeling, they'll be more willing to find the time for more sessions.
  • Several asked for more visuals.
  • One asked if we could invite even more people.
  • One asked for me to explain how Jesus is the second Adam.
  • One asked if I could teach on marriage. Luckily, I had planned to cover marriage when I get into systematic theology later.
I guess the only thing to say at this point is hallelujah. Luckily, that's a word that's the same in every language.

Now, here are some pictures:

This was near the end of the break,
so not everyone was in the picture.

Many of the local pastors rode their bikes
to the church where we met.

And I took a picture of someone's notes that
were left on a pew during the break. I don't
know what the person wrote, but I liked seeing
so many people taking notes.

Finally, here's a short video taken during the break. You can see a couple people still taking notes, and at the end, you can see Juan Bautista (aka John the Baptist) saying hi to me.

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