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2007 National Leadership Conference - Overall Evaluaton

Thursday, March 08, 2007

For those who have been waiting on pins and needles (yea, right) for me to return to my reports on the National Leadership Conference at Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, I beg your pardon for the delay.

Awards and Evaluation

Best General Session Presentation:

Our Unique Gospel by Dr. Dave Doran of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary for
Thursday morning’s general session. (I discuss this presentation in this

Best Workshop Presentation:
Mentoring the Next Generation of Leaders by Pastor Andy Counterman of Anchor
Baptist Church of Millersville, Maryland. This selection probably also reveals a
little of my bias due to my burden for this particular topic.

Workshops I Most Wish I Had Attended:

Academic - Varieties of Interpretation in Dispensational Theology by Dr. Dave
Burgraff and Very God of Very God by Dr. Kevin Bauder

Practical - When a Small Church Becomes a Bigger Church by Pastor Wayne Burgraff

Most Pleasant Surprise of a Workshop:

Strategic Planning for Dummies by Ron Clark. It started off a little
slow, but the session was actually pretty good with some helpful things for this
young pastor.

Most Humorous Moment:

During the Panel Discussion on Friday, Dr. Bauder was making a point about how
the Bible is sufficient for all that we need, but not necessarily all that we
want. In doing so, he gave an illustration about falling from an airplane and
having the parachutes fail. The Bible is sufficient in answering the questions
about "how should I face death?", etc., but it is not designed to answer how to
survive a fall from an airplane. At that time, Dr. Doran opened up his Bible
over his head as if he was using it as a parachute. Maybe you had to be there,
but it was pretty funny.

Most Humorous Moment 2:

Dr. Bauder’s comment about not having the privilege of pastoring a large church like Calvary where he could put so many people to sleep all at once

Most Humorous Private Moment:

The Hardingville crew and Pastor Matt Jury and I ending up eating at a dainty ladies diner on Wednesday after the restaurant Matt was taking us to ended up being closed. The ladies who ran the diner scrambled for tables and we ended up eating things that were fit for a rabbit. Pastor Franklin and I both had ordered an open-faced turkey sandwich and Pastor Franklin commented that I had the other half of his sandwich.

Evaluation and General Comments:

I think that Dr. Harbin did a good job in keeping the National Leadership Conference a profitable conference.

On the positive side:

  • I appreciated the fact that the notebook included almost all of the notes from all the worksop sessions again.
  • I liked the Panel Discussion on Friday.
  • I liked the idea of having the small group discussions, although this could
    use a little adjustment. Perhaps having some starter questions written out or
    something along those lines would help.
  • I liked the overall mix of academic and practical. This year I tended to
    gravitate towards the more practical, but other years I have enjoyed the more
    academic presentations.
  • I liked the refreshments being available in the display area after the
    Wednesday and Thursday night services.

On the "needs improvement" side:

  • There were not as many workshop sessions this year as in previous years. Last year, for example, both Wednesday and Thursday there were four workshop sessions each. This year, there were only four workshop sessions total.
  • Using the main sanctuary for workshops sessions without a microphone did not work well. It was difficult to hear in that room due to the lack of amplification in connection with all of the other activities going on around. This actually contributed to me choosing not to attend Wayne Burgraff’s workshop When a Small Church Becomes a Bigger Church.
  • I was a little disappointed that a number of songs that we were encouraged to sing congregationally would be considered "on the edge" or "borderline" for many of us. Even if that is where you are as a church, I still think in a mixed multitude such as shows up at a conference like this, it would be more appropriate to sing the good old hymns that will not bother anyone - especially for congregational singing since you are asking those attending to participate in this activity.
  • I still have hesitation about celebrating the Lord’s Table in a setting like this.
Overall, I enjoyed the 2007 National Leadership Conference. Dr. Harbin, Dr. Jordan, and the staff at the church and seminary did a good job.

In addition to the actual help from the conference itself, I enjoyed spending some time with Pastor Matt Jury and his aunt and uncle during the week. I also enjoyed seeing folks that I do not get to see very often - although I was surprised that the place seemed void of most of the bloggers that were there last year (no Greg Linscott, Jason Janz, Bob Bixby, Tom Pryde, Joel Tetreau, etc.).

As the week progresses, I plan on posting on the individual workshops.

Just my thoughts,



Greg Linscott said...


The expected birth of my son made it unwise for me to plan to attend this year. I'll look forward to seeing you again, there.

Andy Efting said...


Pastor Couterman was my pastor before we moved to GA.

I would have liked to have heard Wayne Burgraff's session, too. We are facing that in our church, moving from small to bigger. We still think like we are a church plant but, in reality, we are pushing close to 200 and really need to start thinking and acting like a bigger church.

Frank Sansone said...


I really liked Pastor Counterman. In fact, although I have been through a very good internship with Pastor Franklin, he had some things that he mentioned specifically in the context of the ladies that made me ask about my wife and I coming sometime when he goes over that stuff with the interns and their wives.

I am posting some comments from Pastor Wahlberg's presentation on the same topic (it was Part 1 by Wahlberg and then Part 2 later on by Burgraff) as soon as I get a good chance - hopefully tonight.

When I get the mp3s in a few weeks, I may make some comments about Burgraff's presentation on here, so keep your eyes open for it. He did "fill in the blank" notes and Pastor Steve Snavely from New York gave me a copy of his filled-in notes (at least as far as Wayne covered - apparently he did not quite get through all of his notes) and they look good, but I ordered the mp3 and I hope they were able to record the session even though it was in the location it was in.

How long were you at Anchor? You were still at the church on Rolling Road when we stayed with you in 1991 (although it seemed as though you may have been a little out of place from an outsider's perspective).

Anyway, I hope my report and comments on Wahlberg's part up this evening.

In Christ,


Andy Efting said...

I left GBBC in the spring of '93 and went to Anchor right when Pastor Counterman was candidating. Anchor was running in the 50's on a good Sunday back then. When we left in 1998, they were around 250 (I think) and in the middle of a building program. Brian McCrorie was coming down to Anchor from Lansdale to help with the music and youth while I was there.

I'm looking forward to reading/hearing the Wahlberg presentation.

Frank Sansone said...


Somehow I missed your comment.

I understand the effect that expected babies can have on a schedule. I missed coaching my Bible Quiz team at AACS Nationals one year because it was less than two weeks before Christina was due - and then she ended up being almost two weeks late, so I would have had plenty of time!