Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Spiritual Leadership Conference: Breakaway Sessions I Attended

Wes and I attended the Spiritual Leadership Conference at Lancaster Baptist Church the week of June 9-12. This was my first time to attend, and only his second, so we were excited to be there! We've always watched on their live stream feed, but actually being there is always much more satisfying and exciting.

The preaching services are always good and full of much-needed, biblical sermons, but I also really enjoy the afternoon breakaway sessions geared toward various aspects of the ministry. In years past, I've listened to some of the audio from sessions that have interested me, mostly for pastors' wives, ladies, and musicians. So I was very excited to choose sessions for myself and hear them in person. I gave the links for these posts in my newsletter, and today I just want to comment on each session. I'll list links to the page of sessions and how to get the notes from each session at the end of this post.

On Tuesday, I had lunch with a couple of online friends I'd never met in real life. This is Courtney. She and her husband are church-planters in New Mexico. I followed Courtney's blog way back before she was married, and now she's expecting her 4th baby and first little girl! I was so pleased to meet her!

Tuesday Afternoon

Session 1: Exciting Congregational Playing with Shelly Hamilton

This is the session I was most excited about! I would get to sit in the same room with Shelly Hamilton, wife of Ron (Patch the Pirate) Hamilton and music writer and performer for Majesty Music! Unfortunately, there is no audio for this session. I'm bummed about that because it went so quickly and I was scribbling notes so fast that I feel like I missed a lot of what was said and demonstrated. I don't have a lot of classical music training, so some of the theory behind her teaching was a little beyond what I could quickly understand. She gave ideas for fill-ins and runs in the left and right hands to keep our music moving and dynamic. Once I had time to look over the handout for the class, I was better able to understand all the concepts she presented, so now I have plenty to practice for the next year! I didn't get to meet Mrs. Hamilton personally, mainly because I was concerned about missing the next session, but in hindsight, I wish I had been a little late to the next session just to get a chance to meet her. I did meet their son, Jason, the next day when I bought some music at their table. I bought the second level book of Preludes and Congregational Accompaniments, a book of hymn arrangements by Shelly, Hymn Reflections of Comfort and Hope, and a book of songs by Ron Hamilton with piano, voice, and guitar, The Best of Ron Hamilton, Volume 1. I loved this session, and I'll probably attend more if I get the chance next year.

Session 2: Given to Hospitality by Bonnie Ferrso

Mrs. Ferrso is the wife of Jerry Ferrso, one of the assistant pastors of Lancaster Baptist Church. Her session was quite short, but I gleaned some good information from it. I would have liked to hear more expanded thoughts on each point, but the outline presented in the session was a great acrostic for hospitality as a means of ministry. This is something Wes and I are working on this year, so this session was timely for me. You can listen to the audio by clicking on the title of this session above.

This is my other online friend I got to meet for the first time, Chrissy! Super story of how we actually saw each other for the first time . . . We had planned to meet outside the main auditorium for lunch on Tuesday. As I sat waiting for service to start on Monday evening, someone tapped me on the shoulder. It was Chrissy! She and her husband had been assigned seats right behind us for the week! Chrissy's husband pastors a church in New Jersey. She and I have known each other online for about 8 years. I was thrilled to get to finally meet her face to face!

Wednesday Afternoon

Session 3: Maintaining a Servant's Heart by Jenny Navarette

This session was taught by the wife of the Spanish pastor of Lancaster Baptist. She is a young mom with several young children, and I thought she did a great job with this subject. She was speaking to pastors' wives, but the information was applicable for all women. Her main idea was that, as ministry wives, our most important calling is that of helping our husbands in the ministry. One point that I have thought about a lot is that moms in our Pinterest-influenced culture are often more mom-centered than raising-godly-children-centered. In other words, we get so caught up in throwing the most unique or elaborate birthday party that we are neglecting the most important job of mothering, that of raising children with a heart for God. I think she has a great point! I don't think either of us would say that getting ideas from Pinterest is wrong, but the most important things are the families we are serving - not all those great ideas we're pinning! I think you'd enjoy this session!

Session 4: Living the Spirit-Filled Life by Suza Rasmussen

Suza Rasmussen is the wife of Dr. Mark Rasmussen, Vice President of West Coast Baptist College. I've met her in person and found her to be a gracious lady, and my daughter admires her a lot, so I was excited to hear her presentation on Wednesday afternoon. I was not disappointed! Mrs. Rasmussen spoke very practically and from her personal experience studying the ministry of the Holy Spirit. I came away with a very practical illustration of being filled with the Spirit. Mrs. R filled one glass with all sorts of little things that characterize our lives: jewelry, candy, coins, etc. She left another glass of the same size empty. Then she poured water from two full glasses into the each of the other two glasses. The one with all the "stuff" in it couldn't hold as much water as the empty one. The application is that when we are filled with all the stuff of life, we can't be filled as much with the Holy Spirit; but when we empty ourselves of self and the stuff of life, the Holy Spirit can fill us with more of Himself. This was an excellent session, and not meant for just pastors' wives at all!

Audio for All Breakaway Sessions - all the afternoon sessions grouped by category
Session Outlines - download outlines for each session
Main Sessions and Special Presentations - video of every preaching session and special presentations
Photos From the Conference

I'm already looking forward to next year! Wes and I are especially thankful to our People's Baptist Church family for providing our expenses to attend this year's conference. They allowed us to go and enjoy the entire trip with no worries!

Which conference sessions would you like to listen to? I'd love to know your thoughts!


  1. Session 4 without a doubt! I have had so much crazy stuff filling my jar lately that sometimes it seems impossible to be Spirit filled. Thanks for sharing the illustration. I may start writing all of that stuff down, and put it into a jar so I can SEE how crazy I am. :D
    Love the pictures!

  2. Definitely the hospitality session. How very neat that you were able to meet Courtney!! She and Hannah have been friends since they were little, little girls in summer camp at BJU. Small world!

  3. All the sessions for ladies and pastors' wives sound wonderful! Thank you for the links. I downloaded many of them to my computer. My pastor was able to attend the conference. :)

  4. Sounds great Susan! I'm going to listen to some of these:) Thank you.


Thanks for taking a minute to read my ramblings and leave a comment! I appreciate it!

I'm Moving

No, we're not moving again! After almost 10 years of blogging in the same place, my blog is moving. My new address is www.susanhutc...