Pastoral Refreshment Reviews
Sam Allberry (St Mary's Maidenhead)
I just wanted to write a quick note to you and the rest of the conference team to express my great thanks for what was a terrific conference - easily the best conference for Christian workers I've been on. As I drove back home I was feeling so excited at the prospect of getting to know my God better, and it's hard to think of a better outcome from a conference than that! It did everything it said on the tin: it was a really friendly, warm and open atmosphere, and the program was just right in terms of content and balance. It was a joy to hear Dick Dowsett again, but the highlight was probably John Risbridger's exposition on Psalm 32 which has been on my heart and mind ever since. So, thank you to you all for all the work you put into serving us. I really can't wait for next year!
Melvin Tinker (St Johns, Newland)
Living in a ‘how to’ age it is a relief to come across a Christian conference designed to serve all those involved in Gospel ministry (yes, wives are included) which is concerned with refreshing the soul, focusing on being a certain person under the Lord rather than doing certain things for the Lord. What proved to be one of the best gatherings I have been to in years, the Pastoral Refreshment Conference is unique and a blessing. It is billed as; ‘enjoying God, receiving refreshment and being encouraged’ we had all three in bucket loads! The atmosphere was warm, friendly and relaxed- the aim was to take the pressure off busy pastors and their wives. The Bible teaching was rich and realistically applied, with the most pertinent illustrations drawn from a vast and extensive ministry around the world. The times praise and prayer were terrific. The seminars were optional and dealt with the real world of Gospel ministry- stress and burnout, cultivating friendships, how we change and grow as Christians (but if you wanted to go for a walk or read or sleep instead you could do so without incurring a look of disapproval or left feeling guilty). Genuine friendships were made, old ones rekindled and the shear delight of knowing God and serving his people were experienced afresh. This is a spiritual oasis which is a must for Evangelical leaders today.
Colin Bowden (Burgh Baptist)
A must for all Ministers. I have just returned from Hothorpe Hall in Leicestershire having just attended the Pastoral Refreshment Conference organised by Living Leadership. Living Leadership is a group of Evangelical Leaders who have a passion for training and sustaining Christian leaders.
This conference is like no other I have ever been on, it is quite unique. It is not just aimed at ministers but spouses are very welcome and are ministered to as much as the minister/leader. You are not told who the speakers will be (deliberately), but the emphasis in the main session and seminars are very much about spiritual refreshment and encouragement. The expositions were excellent, and the rest of the conference sessions were equally fulfilling and very helpful. The conference is designed to wash over you, allowing God’s love, grace, forgiveness and healing to permeate your soul in a very gentle way leaving you refreshed. It is incredibly relaxed. Every conference I have ever been to I have been bombarded with the need to learn, or how I can do things better. I often come away burdened with more things to do, or guilt, or pressure. Not so with the Pastoral Refreshment Conference, is does “what it says on the tin”. It is held in early February, an ideal time (except for the snow, and even that was fun). For Sue and me this was our second conference together, and we came away feeling refreshed, strengthened and encouraged in the Lord, I only wish they were 6 monthly. Why not suggest now to your Deacons you would like to attend the conference, with your spouse?
Dave Burke (Bethany Church, Sunderland)
Like most gospel workers I have developed my own ways of dealing with the stresses of my job. Until recently, I would never have dreamed of attending a conference to help me do this! But the Pastoral Refreshment Conference has changed that, I have been to the first two and I am a convert - as long as it continues I shall be there. Let me tell you why. It is the only event I attend where I can relax and talk about all the things I can't mention to anyone in my church. There is excellent worship and word ministry, as well as practical seminars, but this is the only conference I know where you are encouraged to skip the sessions if you would rather have quietness. So I get a two-day menu from which I can choose what I need to re-energise and nourish my soul. To this add the friendliness and openness of the people who attend, and the pleasure of meeting old friends and making new ones … see what I mean?
Julian Hardyman (Eden Chapel, Cambridge)
This year's Pastoral Refreshment Conference was notable for an atmosphere of personal openness and mutual encouragement. Leaders from a wide variety of backgrounds were nurtured by highly relevant messages from 2 Corinthians and by a real sense of entering a community of supportive love.