The DoubleTree Hotel in downtown Omaha was abuzz June 29 at the launch of the GARBC’s 2015 conference. Ministers, exhibitors, and church members filled the hotel’s halls as they prepared to spend a week in the Word.
“The GARBC conference is always a great opportunity to network with other ministry colleagues, pastors, and educators,” says Lee Kliewer, a representative of Summit University. “The workshops are phenomenal, it’s great to be challenged by the Word of God, and it’s just a wonderful opportunity to share ideas. I’m really looking forward to this week.” Tom Meyer, a GARBC church member and missionary with Wordsower Ministries, agrees: “This is my third time at a national conference and every time it’s just a tremendous blessing to have fellowship with those who are like-minded and to have an opportunity to share our ministry. I’m so blessed to be here, and my wife and I want to thank the GARBC for putting this on.”
The conference theme this year is “Connected to Christ.” All of life—from the mundane to the spectacular—should be Christ-centered. For Regular Baptists, this viewpoint becomes especially important for the doctrine of sanctification. Lots of other traditions emphasize divergent approaches to spiritual growth, such as Spirit baptism, contemplative prayer, lectio divina, or crisis decisions. But Regular Baptists view the believer’s union with Christ (a positional reality) as the ground of and basis for progressive conformity into His image. This week’s conference messages, drawn from the New Testament epistles of 1 Peter, Galatians, Ephesians, and Colossians, will emphasize that union—and the fellowship it engenders between believers. Because of our union with Christ, we are united to one other too.
The conference’s theme verse is Colossians 3:1—“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.” As the dominant culture becomes progressively less rooted in Judeo-Christian principles, this injunction becomes a source of comfort and strength. So, too, do the proceeding verses: “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”