By: Timothy Thomas
Today we had the privilege of hosting the 4th annual Foundation For Hope’s Pastor’s Conference at Emanuel Baptist Church in Oradea, Romania. This has been one of the highlights of the trip for me the last few trips that I was a part of. It is so encouraging to see the body of Christ come together and unite with one another. There are a number of reasons why I thoroughly enjoy this part of the ministry, but I will outline just a few.
1) The Ministry to Pastor’s – Many of the pastors that come to the conference are pastoring churches in poor villages, many of which are far away from the city. A lot of them also work additional jobs for income since poor village churches cannot always pay the pastor. These pastors get an opportunity to come and get encouragement, although it seems that I often leave more encouraged myself. These pastors, just as all pastors, are in need of encouragement. Being a pastor is a high calling from God and it is not an easy vocation. It takes a special gift from God to be a pastor and it was a privilege to serve alongside all these great men today.
2) The Ministry to Pastors’ Wives – Pastors’ wives are often forgotten, but they are in need of prayer and encouragement as much as the pastors. The wives of pastors have to be strong women who are in constant prayer and a support for their husbands. As stated before, being a pastor can take a toll on a person and they need someone there to lift them up. The wives of pastors are often the unsung hero. They are a significant part of the pastor and his ministry, yet they are often overlooked. It was great seeing these women being encouraged today, as well as shown that their ministry is vital to the body of Christ.
3) Unity – This may be my favorite aspect of the Pastor’s Conference. It is evident that there are still stereotypes here in Romania between the Romanians and the Gypsies. One of the many purposes of this conference is to bring together all types of pastors, from the well-off city pastors, to the poor village pastors, to the gypsy pastors. Seeing them all come together and worship God as one is definitely something that brings great joy. It is such an awesome experience to see the stereotypes literally sever in front of your eyes.
Again, these are just a few of the reasons that I enjoy the Pastor’s Conference. The list goes on and on. We just ended the conference a few hours ago, and I am already looking forward to doing it again in the years to come! Although we are all from different walks of life, speak different languages and have different callings in our lives, we all serve the same God who sees past the stereotypes and looks directly at the heart.