The RP Church of North America runs an International Conference every 4 years. It was held this year from the 21st-27th July on the campus of Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana. Over 2,100 people were there – 500 more than 4 years previously. Almost 500 of those attending were age 13 or younger. Besides the United States and Canada, there were Reformed Presbyterians present from Scotland, Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Australia, Japan, South Sudan, India, Asia, and Uganda.
Seven of us traveled to this Conference from the Airdrie RP Church, and it was well worth the trip. Dr. Joel Beeke was the main speaker, and his talks were on the theme: ‘How To Live the Christian Life.’ He spoke on: how to cultivate holiness; how to cultivate prayerful prayer; how to cultivate effective family worship; how to cultivate living Christ-like through affliction; and how to cultivate running the Christian race to the end. They were all excellent and can be downloaded on sermonaudio. In addition to these daily talks, there were two worship services on the Lord’s Day and worship services on Tuesday and Thursday nights where Rich Holdeman, Dave Reese, Bruce Martin, and Tim McCracken preached.
In the morning and afternoon there were many and varied seminars on offer. Topics ranged from prayer to Psalm singing to outreach to mercy ministry. There were also seminar updates on the RP Churches in Cyprus, South Sudan, East Asia, Japan, Australia, and Scotland (Connor Quigley led this seminar, speaking about what had been happening in the Scottish church over the last few years). There were seminars about the work of the American RP Seminary in Pittsburgh, the work of Geneva College (the American RP university) , the potential for a new mission work in India, and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church mission work in Uganda (though not an RP mission work, many RP men and women have been involved and assisted in this work). During the adult seminar times, a children’s programme was running and highschool and college programmes were going on. There was a sports centre on the campus, and there were other scheduled activities like concerts, trips to a water park, and an ice cream social.
The three things I personally loved about this conference were the excellence of the talks by Dr. Beeke; the fun of seeing and spending time with so many friends many of whom have visited Scotland on mission teams or internships; and the encouragement of hearing from those directly involved about what Christ is doing in His church around the world. I knew it wasn’t possible, but several times during the week, I wished that everyone in the Scottish church could have been there to share in the talks, fun, and encouragement of the week. But in 2014 the Irish RP Church will be running an International Conference in Scotland…so mark your calendars now.