Your Pastor and Minister’s Conferences
by: Danny Carpenter
At least four times a year your pastor is duty bound to attend a conference, usually out of town:
1. The Sectional Conference, now held every two years.
2. The Louisiana District Conference, held in Tioga annually.
3. The Louisiana District Camp Meeting each year during the week of July 4th.
4. The General Conference of the United Pentecostal Church, International, held in some major city in the United States during the month of October each year.
The license that your pastor carries in his wallet obligates him to more than preaching in your church on Sunday. He is part of a world-wide organization whose directives are determined at business meetings by men just like your pastor. His vote is as vital at those meeting as yours is at the presidential and gubernatorial elections in our state. If you belong to the board of a corporation and do not show up for meetings, you are guilty of negligence. So is the pastor who does not concern himself with the affairs of the organization of which he is a part.
However, a pastor is sometimes unable to attend the conference at which he is needed. If he is unable to attend because of an emergency, that is unavoidable. If he is unable to attend because of overscheduling, that is his error. If he is unable to attend because of the lack of money, however, that is the church’s shame. Every church should consider it a privilege and a priority to send its pastor to minister’s conferences.
Whether your church is small or large, there should never be a time when your pastor cannot attend a minister’s conference because of the lack of funds. If your church is small, plan ahead. If your church is large, put it in the church budget. Only in dire circumstances should your pastor be expected to pay his own way to such meetings. However, should he desire, he can assist the church in covering part of his expenses while at the conference. No major corporation in America has an executive who is expected to pay all expenses of business meetings out of his own pocket. Neither should a thoughtful church expect its pastor to pay necessary trips to conferences.
If no one else has, you take the initiative to see to it that your pastor is able to attend future meetings. Consider:
1. Sectional Conference – Usually in the section and he does not mind the day spent with his brethern. No cost to the church unless the conferences is invited to the local assembly. The church should provide a good meal for the visiting ministers. Even the Ladies Ministry in the local church may benefit from this meeting.
2. District Conference – This meeting is held in Tioga each year, the third full week in March. This meeting begins on Tuesday night and ends on Thursday afternoon. His expenses will include travel, lodging for two nights and eats, as the kitchen is not open for this meeting.
3. Louisiana Camp Meeting – This is a very important meeting. Your pastor needs the fellowship without the business of the church on his mind. Here he can absorb preaching and God can gender new thoughts in his mind for the home church. Again he will need travel to and from the Camp, lodging for the five nights and eats. This is a meeting where he will desire to have his family with him, so arrange for their expenses as well. He will want to share in the offerings to support the camp, missionary endeavors and other projects of the church.
4. General Conference – This meeting is held in a major cities across our nation. Expenses to be covered are: travel airfare and rental car or cost of driving his own automobile; eats and lodging while en route to and from; lodging at the conference is a major expense as well as the eating out daily; offerings. Again this should include expenses for his wife if not his whole family.
5. Emergency cash – What a comfort to know you have sufficient cash to cover an emergency if it arises.
6. Inform your pastor well in advance that your church intends to send him to conference. This give him ample time to make the necessary arrangements.
7. Do not embarrass him by taking up public offerings. Too often an offering for such a need turns into a begging. It is uncomfortable for the pastor to sit through such an event. Raise the money discretely among the members of the church, or have a promotion developed to raise the necessary funds just as you do for other projects. There should be a spirit of thankfulness and gratitude in this undertaking . Every department as well as every member should cooperate.
The above material was published in the August 1995 issue of the Louisiana Challenger, pg.2.
The above material has been copyrighted and may be used for study and research purposes only.