On March 1-4 at Central Baptist Church Fountain City in Knoxville, Tn., ChurchWorks 2020 will center on how clergy can most effectively focus on their own wellbeing. ChurchWorks will be a time to think about caring for yourself in different ways; space for you to come and take a break from the day-to-day work, to network, to connect, to relax and to be renewed in your work as a minister.
The following is a reflection from Jim Cobban (Pastor of FBC Middletown, Ky., and a member of the CBF Ministries Council) regarding his first experience at ChurchWorks in 2019 alongside his ministerial staff.
The ministers of children, youth, and I attended ChurchWorks 2019 in St. Louis as part of our annual staff development. Before the conference, I was especially interested in them connecting with the network for their ministry area. In CBF life, our greatest resource is fellow CBF churches, and I wanted Susan and Bobby to get to know other staff ministers in person. That goal was certainly accomplished.
But we received even more than I expected!
First, the chance to get away together was invaluable. Although our relationships were already strong, spending a couple of days away from the office and ministry responsibilities gave us the chance to connect in new ways. And, just as I hoped, they came home connected with email addresses and Facebook pages with their counterparts across the country.
Second, the outstanding conference speakers gave us a framework for conversations about our church and their work. We spent the five hours back to Louisville brainstorming “what-if” scenarios sparked by the presentations. We spoke a common dream language that has had benefits for us beyond the days in St. Louis.
Third, I was able to expose Susan and Bobby to the broader CBF world. Many members of the Decatur staff I know were present. Introducing two of our staff ministers to the CBF staff gave a personal connection and a greater understanding of the global work of CBF.
And fourth, I didn’t expect to connect with a fellowship of pastors. didn’t realize how much I needed to sit in a room with other CBF pastors. It was just the prescription I needed.
This was my first ChurchWorks conference. I had been saying rather loudly—and wrongly—that CBF needed to offer something for vocational ministers. I didn’t know they already do! So, let me say it just as loudly: CHURCHWORKS IS WHAT YOU NEED IN YOUR MINISTRY LIFE!
Jim Cobban is the pastor of First Baptist Church Middletown in Metro Louisville, Ky. For more information and to register, visit www.cbf.net/churchworks2020.