What an amazing couple of days we had at the 2020 ICOC Teachers’ Forum! Many of our ICOC teachers from around the world met in San Antonio for “Conversations: Exploring the Teaching Ministry.” In Romans 12:6 Paul speaks about the diversity of gifts within the church through the grace of God. For those whose gift is teaching, Paul encourages them to ‘then teach,’ and that’s exactly what happened at the Teachers Forum. The teachers taught with great skill and humility, and encouraged all those who have been called to teach, to do so within their contexts.
One of the highlights of this conference was the presence of teachers from the mainstream Churches of Christ, who offered their perspective and insight into the origins of our fellowship of churches in the Stone/Campbell movement. Their deep understanding of our shared history and theology, presented in the spirit of love, mutual respect, and humility, was truly a gift to all of us. They called us higher to leave room for the Holy Spirit to work. They encouraged us to consider how to make room for the contribution of women in our churches and to recognize their gifts, particularly for those whose gift is teaching. They led us to look at our history in order to recognize our strengths and weaknesses in light of the past, so we may learn and grow. They urged us to further equip ourselves with a strong sense of theology and sharpen our hermeneutics, so our ministries are informed by them and not the other way around. They broadened our horizons by introducing us to spiritual practices that deepen our experience of the divine, just by sitting in God’s presence.
Another highlight was listening to many of our own ICOC Teachers, who encouraged us to grow teaching ministries throughout our churches. They emphasized the importance of being well equipped, with our churches engaging in solid exegesis, Christ-center theology and mature spirituality. We are blessed to have such great examples of wisdom, which along with humility, are indispensable in our churches. At a time such as this, when we are faced with the challenges of remaining people of faith in a post-modern society, the convictions they shared with us could not be more fitting.
And of course, there is the fellowship. It is always special to spend time with like-minded people, to share each other’s challenges and “spur one another.” I personally connected with people I had not seen in a very long time, and made some new friendships – bonds which we will continue to be strengthen online even though many of us live so far from each other.
I look forward to the growth that will result from this conference. Can’t wait until the next time we meet again, and to see the number of participants grow.
Shared from Teaching Ministry of the ICOC