Philadelphia will be the site of the 2011 OPC Timothy Conference. It will be held March 24–25, just two months prior to the OPC's seventy-fifth anniversary. The Christian Education Committee hopes that the seventy-fifth young man will have passed through the doors of this annual conference at its conclusion. In keeping with this historic time and place in the life of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, as well as American Presbyterianism in general, ruling elder Darryl Hart has been asked to lead the conference attendees on a Presbyterian history tour of the Philadelphia area. Dr. Hart is a noted author on American church history. One of his many books, Seeking a Better Country: 300 Years of American Presbyterianism, which he coauthored with the OPC's church historian, John Muether, will be given to those who attend the conference.
Of course, the OPC Timothy Conference is not primarily about church history. But it is about preserving the Reformed faith of our fathers by passing it from one generation to the next, through the mouths of men called and ordained to the gospel ministry. Wonderful opportunities and daunting challenges await those who are called by our Lord into gospel proclamation in the OPC during the next twenty-five years. Five ministers, representing two generations of OP ministry and all three program committees for Worldwide Outreach, will present to young "Timothys" the challenge of carrying the gospel banner forward to future generations. With their rich experiences in pastoral ministry, foreign missions, home missions, Christian education, and seminary training, Paul Browne, Douglas Clawson, Ross Graham, Danny Olinger, and David VanDrunen have been appointed to paint a full picture of what it will take to be a future minister of the gospel in the OPC.
It is our desire that the sons of the church who are sent to the conference receive clear and powerful instruction from these fathers in the faith. They will hear about the importance of the office of minister in the life of the church (Clawson), the discerning of God's call to the ministry (Graham), the necessity that ministers be well trained (VanDrunen), good preparation for ministry now as young men (Browne), and the major steps in the process toward ordination in the OPC (Olinger). In addition to the conference lectures, there will be a visit to the campus of nearby Westminster Seminary and the occasion to attend a class or two. Throughout the conference, there will be plenty of opportunities for conversation with the speakers, as well as fellowship with those attending the conference. Making new friends with others who are also serious about the Reformed faith and willing to consider the call to the ministry is definitely one of the highlights of the OPC Timothy Conference!
The men who attend do not have to be already committed to pursuing the gospel ministry, but they do need to be interested in learning more and open to the possibility that the Lord may indeed be calling and preparing them for this glorious service in his kingdom. They need to be young men (ages 16–21) who love the Lord, who have made a public profession of their faith, and who have been recommended by the session of their OP congregation. At the last OPC Timothy Conference, which was hosted by Matthews OPC in Charlotte, North Carolina, Pastor Nathan Trice urged upon the young men the fundamental importance of delighting in the Lord, having the capacity of heart to care for and serve others, and being "embedded" in the life of a local Orthodox Presbyterian congregation. These are characteristics that you may see developing in young men in your congregation. Send them to a future conference, trusting and praying that the Lord would use it as means to fan into flame the gifts he has given them.
Those who organize the conference have been very pleased with the quality of the young men who have been sent in prior years. We keep track of them in an informal way and know that they can be found testing their gifts and callings in college, seminary, local congregations, home mission works, and short-term mission teams in places such as Haiti (Michael Spangler, Peter Thibault), Uganda (Nathan Archer, David Bonner), Uruguay (Adrian Crum), the Czech Republic (Joseph Pollard, Alexander Patocs), and China (David Kuhfuss), just to name a few.
Applications and the prospectus for the 2011 OPC Timothy Conference can be found at OPC.org on the Christian Education pages (link here).
The author is a member of the Committee on Christian Education. New Horizons, November 2010.