March 17, 2006
Thanks for the post on the CHBC Weekender, Mark, and for your reiterated invitation to me to tell folks about the Twin Lakes Fellowship. I had some surgery on Wednesday of this week, so have been out of the loop in terms of posting though I have checked the T4G blog regularly.
The Twin Lakes Fellowship is a ministerial fraternal for kingdom extension. We want to encourage church health and growth by commending the "ordinary means of grace." This year (April 4-6 in Florence, MS, at our church’s conference center) we are delighted to have David F. Wells (doing an overview of his Above All Earthly Pow’rs and particpating in a roundtable discussion), R.C. Sproul, Mike Campbell (who preached for John Piper’s conference this year), Doug Kelly, Derek Thomas, Terry Johnson, and more speaking at the TLF.
The Twin Lakes Fellowship was established about eight years ago by the elders of the First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, MS (and receives support and oversight from several other PCA sessions and ministers in Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina). This fellowship is designed to pursue a twofold purpose: (1) to encourage ministers and churches to promote the work of church planting through their local congregations and (2) to encourage ministers in their personal growth in grace, so as to maximize their effectiveness in promoting the work of the Gospel.
If I might express it another way, the Twin Lakes Fellowship aims to be an American version of the Crieff Brotherhood in Scotland, except with a specific, positive ministry focus: to encourage church planting through a variety of specific, practical means. The purpose of the Twin Lakes Fellowship is thus positive and Spiritual. It is also unique, in that it is concerned to promote some sense of common ministerial bonhomie, and renew our energy for historic Reformed theology and ministry.
How exactly do with aim both to encourage church planting and to encourage ministers? Well, for example, consider the following. As we gather annually, we attempt (on the church planting side): (1) to promote a heart for evangelism and church-planting among ministers through emphasis, exhortation and example; (2) to encourage some gifted pastors to consider becoming church planters themselves; (3) to encourage gifted seminarians to consider becoming church planters; (4) to encourage an ordinary means of grace approach in the Gospel ministry of church plants/ers; (5) to bring church planters into direct contact with ministers and elders from potential support churches; to church planters themselves opportunities to report, appeal and instruct, as well as to encourage them in their labors; (6) to bring potential church planters into direct contact with ministers and elders who are looking for church planters for specific works; (7) to bring missionary church planters into direct contact with ministers and elders from potential support churches; generally there will be one missionary church planting ministry represented and the rest will be North American church planting; (8) to address practical issues regarding the export of historic reformed theology and church life in a postmodern, multicultural and pluralistic society. (9) to hear from denominational servants and various presbytery spokesmen about church planting strategies and opportunities; and (10) to produce and disseminate literature and resources (books, pamphlets, video, audio, email list and distribution, and internet-available material) to foster church health and growth in the work of church planting.
On the ministerial encouragement side, we attempt: (1) to refresh ministers and glorify God through worship and the ministry of the word; (2) to promote a Gospel brotherhood in the work of Christian ministry through fellowship; (3) to encourage disheartened brethren; (4) to introduce to one another committed men with a shared theological vision; (5) to provide for a time of relaxation and recreation for servants of the Lord; (6) to encourage a pan-Reformed brotherhood by inviting like-minded men from various presbyterian and reformed backgrounds and denominations, both from the region and nation and from around the world; (7) to network with other bodies and organizations for mutual edification, encouragement and stimulation (like 9 Marks); (8) to address at least one critical theological issue per annum, via lecture and discussion, that is impacting the reformed and evangelical community; and (9) to promote theological ministry commitments which are biblical and reflective of solid Reformed convictions.