November 7, 2012
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” - 2 Timothy 2:15
On Thursday, October 25th, over 73 people gathered at the Chicago Center for the 2012 Leadership Development Workshop. With a conference key verse of 2 Timothy 2:15, workshop attendees participated in Bible studies, breakout sessions, and large group meetings to hear how the Apostle Paul encouraged and instructed his spiritual son, Timothy, to be a “worker approved by God.” The workshop began with dinner on Thursday evening and ended with Sunday Worship Service on Sunday, October 28th.
Thursday night was all about worshipping the Lord as we gathered in His name. We kicked things off with a get-to-know-each-other activity, “Speed Fellowshipping,” which redeemed the worldly practice of “speed dating” for the Godly purpose of getting to know our co-workers in Christ. In this activity, participants were able to have one-on-one conversation with about half of the attendees. In several one, three, and five-minute long “conversation rounds,” people were able to discuss their answers to a wide range of questions - from “what is your favorite form of exercise” to “how did you meet Christ?” After getting to know each other better, Pastor Mark Vucekovich challenged us to think about what it means to be a leader in ministry and what makes a Godly leader. The answer? Being firmly rooted in the Word of God. We were also able to hear about what God is doing in several North American chapters through a photo slideshow Pastor Mark compiled from his recent trips around the continent. The night ended on a spiritual high note with an hour of praise and worship. Coming together to sing to Jesus and pray for each other was truly a beautiful way to prepare our hearts for the rest of the workshop.
Friday morning we were back at the Center bright and early for breakfast, followed by a theme study of the book of 2 Timothy. In our theme study small groups, we shared brief sermon outlines on 2 Timothy that we had each prepared ahead of time. This activity got us thinking about the context of our Bible study/message passages and highlighted the key themes of the book. We were then mentally and spiritually prepared for our group Bible studies. I personally was so blessed to be able to study with a small group of coworkers from all over the country - each of whom brought something different to the study and group dynamic. That afternoon, we heard a message on 2 Timothy 2:14-26 by David Kim, Jr. of Tempe, Arizona. David is a growing messenger who is being used greatly by God in Tempe. Please pray for his chapter to flourish by the Spirit. Next, longtime UBF friend Dr. John Armstrong gave a spirited message titled “The Gospel, Church, & Mission” which was both encouraging and the best kind of challenging.
The four breakout sessions we could choose to attend were Discipleship, Spiritual Gifts, Purity, and Message Preparation. We each attended one of these Friday night after dinner and the other Saturday morning after our second group Bible study. These sessions were definitely a highlight, as they were interesting, educational, and fostered an environment for much honest and open discussion. Saturday afternoon, Matthew Chiesi from Kansas City gave a message on 2 Timothy 3:10-4:5. We also sincerely pray for Matthew to grow as the leader of the UMKC chapter and for God to bring many University of Missouri students to know Jesus through his ministry. Before ending with reflection writing on Saturday, we were blessed to hear a message and great exhortation from Pastor Abraham Kim. His message was titled “God’s Word & Discipleship,” and in his concluding prayer topics, Pastor Abraham reminded us of the power and beauty of a one-to-one shepherding ministry, where believers lay down their lives by sacrificing time, emotional and physical energy to teaching and loving their Bible students. It was a powerful reminder to me that “we love because He first loved us.”
Finally, on Sunday morning we gathered one last time with our small groups to share our reflections. The richness and complexity of 2 Timothy naturally produced rich and complex personal reflections, making it easy to worship joyfully in the Sunday Worship Service that followed. I was so blessed through this workshop to receive the calling to “preach the word” and continue forward in our disciple-making ministry because of the astounding grace of Jesus on my own life. May He be glorified as our current and upcoming leaders go into the world as salt and light.
We thank God for the labor of many godly people in Chicago UBF who served as hosts for this event. Particularly we are grateful to Sarah Kim and Faith Grady for serving well prepared meals, to Deborah Yang and Hannah Kuper for preparing the environment for guests, and to Elijah Park and his team for serving the transportation needs and in many other practical ways. Most of all, we thank God for his blessing on this workshop through the prayers of His people. May He raise many approved workers for His glory and for His salvation work in our land.
By Stephanie Sidak