"Shepherding the Flock of God”

August 12-14, 2008

Project Jabez Campsite, Pala-pala, Dasmarinas, Cavite

Shepherding the flock of God was the theme chosen for the 14th Pastoral conference, a two and a half day, all men conference for pastors and workers. 153 delegates coming from as far as Mindoro, Zambales, Gumaca, Quezon and Bondoc Peninsula came. There were also two Korean delegates that attended the conference.

Four speakers shared their messages in sessions allotted to them: Dr. John Richard, missionary at large with Action International Ministries, Tom Flanagan, Pastor of Skamania Community Church in the United States, Bro. Matt Califf Elder at Skamania Community Church and Rev. Pio Tica, who spoke on Personality Development is the President of Higher Ground Baptist College and Academy and also the Senior Pastor of Malabon International Baptist Church.

Dr. John Richard opened each day of the conference with devotional messages. Speaking on the glorious opportunities of serving God as pastors/shepherds, he cited the examples of the Lord Jesus Christ in serving, “who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross.” He also cited the Apostle Paul’s attitude in his calling, noting the apostle’s humility as he called himself the chiefs of sinners at the peak of his service and near the end of his life. He urged the delegates to be “little Christ”, emphasizing that it is not greater talents that one is blest with, but more of Christ-likeness: for it is the one that will draw one to Christ. He said pastors are capable of robbing the glory of God that is why they need to be careful in utterances of words and reactions to what people have to say about them. Telling the pastors they are on the high priority of Satan’s list, he emphasized the importance of real conversion, definite call to the ministry and full dependence to God.

When Bro. Matt Califf said “sometimes, the pastors are not the most spiritual person in the church,” most of the delegates nodded their heads in agreement. He then proceeded to revisit the qualifications of elder/overseer/pastor as stated in the scriptures. Being an elder himself, he encouraged the delegates to aspire to serve as pastors/leaders, but desire not to exalt oneself. He emphasized the importance of living above reproach, maintaining good testimony of personal/family life and following the examples of the Bereans in “examining the scriptures daily, as pastors are men of grace and entrusted with the gospel of grace.

Pastor Tom Flanagan, the plenary speaker, spoke on the conference’s theme “Shepherding the Flock of God.” In his messages, he shared the reasons why the sheep needs a good shepherd. Relating the work of a shepherd to pastoring, he enumerated the qualities of a good shepherd/pastor. He said the shepherd/pastor must provide nourishment, protection, healthcare and serenity to his sheep. Further saying that no sheep is expendable, he encouraged the delegates, as shepherds/pastors, to practice what is taught in 1 Thessalonians 5:14 “warn those who are lazy/idle, encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of (strengthen) those who are weak. . .” And using the acronym AUG (Approved Unto God) based on 2 Tim 2:15, he concluded his sessions with a challenge to measure the degree of their shepherding by these words – Approved Unto God.

After the concluding session, books from Special CLAIM set consisting of Light On Finances by David Venable and A Sure Foundation by Pastor Tim Strickland were given to each delegate.

During breaks, many delegates took the opportunity to avail of the free use of the swimming pool (which were not included in the past Pastoral Care Conferences), while some opted to play in the basketball courts.

On the last night of the conference, some pastors participated in a singing contest ala American/Pinoy Idol. Heavy rains did not hinder the program which started after supper. Some singing talents from the delegates really shined through especially the special number rendered by three former inmates at the National Bilibid Prison inMuntinlupa City who are now actively serving the Lord!

The 2 ½ days conference was both a respite and blessing to each one. They were not only fed physically (three full meals plus two snacks per day), but were also fed spiritually (thru messages by the speakers, consultation/talk with the speakers and books).

Because of these we, both at CGM and ACTION, can be sure that they will go back to their folds equipped, and ready to continue to shepherd the flock of God.

It is also a source of encouragement and joy to us to receive their comments about the seminar:

  • “This conference was really a blessing to me. I thank God for the passion and heart of CGM and ACTION to sponsor this conference.”
  • “The messages of the speakers are very helpful to the delegates. The video ministry presentations of CGM and ACTION were very good.”
  • “I thank God for this conference because I was not only refreshed with the messages but also had time to relax and rest, away from the maddening crowd.”
  • “I do appreciate the beauty of the surroundings, cleanliness of the ‘CR’s (toilets), and very good and delicious food. Thank you, too, for the books given to us.”
  • “Keep on with your Pastoral Care Conference every year; it is a big help and encouragement especially to a pastor like me who can’t afford to attend expensive Bible training.”