In six 60-minute Instruction sessions, CST speakers Robert Kinney and Steve Bickley (pictured–right) taught us important principles of biblical interpretation. Then in four 90-minute sessions, we gathered together in Small Groups and dug deeply into the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel. Each participant had to prepare work on two passages beforehand. Participants then shared their work with their Small Group, which was followed by group interaction under the care of a Small Group Leader. The purpose was to help each man make progress in his skill of comprehending the Scriptures. Finally, the two-and-a-half day workshop also featured three Expositions. At the heart of all this is men of God, gathered together around the Word of God–not only in the sense of our shared intellectual effort, but also in the practical fellowship that we enjoyed with one another during the Workshop, over lunch, and in the evening hours. A wonderful thing, isn't it?
Under God's gracious favor, teamwork is critical to having a successful Workshop. This teamwork was evident on two levels. First, a number of congregations served the Workshop in different ways. Clifton Park Community Church provided space for the event, and its Pastor Dave Bissett and his wife Laurel gave significant time and energy to it. One of the highlights was when Dave and Laurel (and their daughter Heather!) hosted around 20 participants for dinner-and-fellowship on Thursday evening. Other congregations were also involved: Adamsville Community Baptist Church provided lunch on Wednesday; Christian Bible Church provided lunch on Thursday; and Durkeetown Baptist Church provided snacks on Wednesday and Thursday.
Second, the Workshop itself involved leadership from several men from different congregations. Dave Bissett (Clifton Park Community Church) served as Host Pastor and a Small Group Leader, and he preached the Thursday afternoon sermon. Ken Prater (Durkeetown Baptist Church) preached the Wednesday afternoon sermon. Neal Patel (Valley Bible Church) served as a Small Group Leader. Ken MacLeod (Adamsville Community Baptist Church), Ed Reed (Christian Bible Church), and Brian Wilbur (OneLife Community Church) served as Apprentice Small Group Leaders. Ken MacLeod (pictured above–left) also moderated the Question & Answer session with Robert and Steve. Chris Miller (OneLife Community Church) and George Colon (Clifton Park Community Church) led times of Worship in Music during the event.
Why all this? Because–to borrow a basic CST concept–we believe that God accomplishes His redemptive work in our world through His holy Word. Therefore, as men whom God has appointed to preach and teach His Word, it is imperative that we grasp the divinely intended meaning of each text so that we can faithfully deliver His Word to others–that the unconverted might be brought out of darkness into light and that local congregations might be made strong to bear fruit for God's glory.
May God be pleased to saturate the northeastern United States with His life-giving Word, resulting in thriving churches that delight in God's gracious salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord.
WRITTEN BY BRIAN WILBUR