7 February, 2023

‘Pressing On’ Conference Planned for ‘Seasoned’ Ministers, Missionaries

by | 17 January, 2023

By Jim Nieman 

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). 

Kairos Benevolence Fund and the International Conference on Missions are combining to “jointly power” Pressing On: A Conference of Encouragement for Ministers and Missionaries, set for May 9 to 11 in Covington, Ky.—across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. The conference’s stated goal is to encourage ministers to do what Paul describes in Philippians . . . “press on.” 

“The vision for the conference is simple,” said David Pace, founder and president of KBF. “We want to provide an opportunity for ‘seasoned’ ministry personnel to gather, fellowship, be recharged, refreshed, and encouraged to remain faithful and ‘press on’ in their various forms of ministry service.” 

“These last three years have been very hard on ministers,” added David Empson, executive director of ICOM. “We think this would be a great opportunity to lift them up, worship some, hear the Word, talk about ministry and service, pray, and grow in community.” 

Pace and Empson noted that other large church and ministry conferences are more focused on people who are “a generation or two younger” than the folks targeted for “Pressing On.” And while those other ministry conferences are worthy, necessary, and good, missionaries and ministers with perhaps 25 or 35 years of service—plus retirees—can benefit from a different type of programming.  

There is precedent for a conference of this sort. From 2014 to 2016, KBF sponsored a gathering for retired ministers (the first year) and then a 55+ Conference (the next two years). The gatherings were well-received, but efforts and available funds ultimately were directed to other opportunities. 

Since that time, Pace and Empson said they have spoken often of reestablishing such a gathering. 

And while the new Pressing On Conference has no age restriction, “seasoned” ministers and missionaries, and their spouses, are the folks likely to most benefit from the programming. 

Scheduled speakers include Jeff Vines, lead pastor of ONE&ALL Church in California and a former missionary to Zimbabwe and New Zealand; LeRoy Lawson, a retired senior minister, college president, and educator; and Dick Alexander, a retired minister who continues to serve as an international consultant with CMF International

“Most people I know in ministry have little desire to retire, in the way that word is usually used,” Alexander said. “They look forward to more time with the grandkids, but they also want to continue learning, growing, and serving in some way in the church and community. This conference is a gathering of people who love God more than ever and who have a lifetime of experience to offer.” 

Lawson said longtime ministers can deal with quite a bit of “discouraging stuff, and that we—at least I—need a booster shot of encouragement from time to time.” The Pressing On Conference is “the time,” he said. 

“Past Is Prologue” will serve as Lawson’s presentation topic. “This can be a very good season” for ministers and missionaries, he said. 

Beyond inspiring presentations, the conference will also include good accommodations at the Embassy Suites by Hilton, directly across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, shared meals, gospel music by Pastors 3, and group travel to the Ark Encounter (a theme park featuring a full-size Noah’s Ark) in Williamstown, Ky. 

A dedicated page at KBF’s website lists “8 Reasons to Attend the 2023 Pressing On Conference,” along with many additional details, pricing, and access to registration. The conference is a logical extension of Kairos Benevolence Fund’s purpose of seeking to honor the legacy of ministers and missionaries who are facing financial or health crises. 

The hope and expectation is that this conference will become an annual event, Pace and Empson said. 

“We believe that there are a lot of folks in ministry who want and need encouragement and motivation to stay the course of fulfilling their calling to ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ and advance the kingdom,” Empson said. 

Other event sponsors include Pioneer Bible Translators, Lifeline Christian Mission, Christian Village Communities, Good News Productions International, and Christian Churches Pension Plan

Jim Nieman serves as managing editor of Christian Standard. 

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