The second day of the pastors’ conference went well like the first. The day began with a session on the importance of dependence on the Holy Spirit in the Christian life and ministry. This was grounded in John 15 where Jesus gives the parable of the vine and the branches.
This was a great session that was challenging and flies in the face of both the American and Dominican way of approaching church and ministry. We ended the session by having pastors spend time in prayer for each other that they would grow deeper in their relationships with God.
The fourth and final session was on the importance of preaching the truth from the Word. One of the things that I was trying to drive home with pastors was that the Word should be central in our Christian lives and ministries. This was practically taught by doing multiple exercises where the pastors would have to write the ideas of the text in their notebook and through praying topics directly from texts. The idea of exegetical, generating from the text, preaching and praying through scripture are foreign concepts to the pastors here.
To show the pastors exegetical preaching, I taught a sermon entirely from Ephesians 2:1-10. This was a great opportunity to review with the pastors the importance of the gospel message. The session ended by having the pastors read through Colossians 1:15-20 and write down characteristics of Christ from the text. We then ended the session by spending some time in prayer to praise Jesus for being all of the things that Colossians describes Him to be.
The original plan was to do two more teaching sessions, but after starting the conference, I began to feel the Holy Spirit leading me in another direction. It was important to me that the pastors build community with each other so that they will be able to hold each other accountable and encourage each other.
There was a swimming pool at the hotel. Many of these Haitian pastors had never been in a swimming pool before. It was very entertaining to watch the pastors enjoy the pool. They were all hesitant to get in the pool at first, but once they got in, they were splashing each other and laughing. There was a time of bonding that happened in the pool and through the relationships that were built through this special moment together.
After lunch, we had a time of worship and prayer. Different pastors led different songs in Creole for our worship time. This was a very special moment. It always amazes me to listen to people worship God in another language. I wanted to make sure that we ended the conference in a specific time of intentional prayer. This time of prayer was based out of Ephesians 3:14-21.
During the prayer time, Brad and I washed the pastors’ feet as a picture of service to them and their ministries. While we were washing a pastor’s feet, the other pastors prayed a prayer for the person based on Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3. Then, the pastor shared a specific prayer need, and we prayed again for that need. This was a very special time for the pastors and me.
It was amazing to see the transformation that took place in the relationships between the pastors over the course of the conference. At the beginning of the conference, they were quiet and distant from each other. By the end of the conference, they had all become friends and had made a commitment to pray for each other and encourage each other. It is amazing to see what God can do in the hearts of His people in just a few hours!