This took place from Monday to Wednesday of this week in the Royal Hotel, Bray. As a conference, it does exactly what it says on the tin, i.e. concentrates on preaching. It is aimed at anyone involved in Word based ministry. Many of those there were regular preachers, but there were some in other ministries such as youth work.
The format is quite straightforward. There are a number of preaching sessions (4 this year), together with three workshop sessions. Everyone chooses one workshop for all of the sessions. There was also a Question Time panel on one evening.
The main speaker this year was James Healy – Hutchinson, principal of the Belgian Bible Institute. He took us through the book of Ruth, and was truly inspirational in the way that he did so. Here was no dry, theoretical approach, but he brought the story to life, warming our hearts, pointing us to the Lord Jesus Christ. As well as being a blessing to everyone there, the talks exemplified how to bring God’s Word in an engaging and relevant way. The audios will be posted on to the Irish Preachers’ Conference website soon. They are well worth listening to for every Christian.
The workshop was very helpful. I chose the one led by David ‘Monty’ Montgomery on preaching a whole book in one session. Each person in the group was assigned one of the following books: Esther, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Lamentations or Ruth (Monty had decided these before he knew what James would preach on!). Each of us gave a 15 minute presentation to the group showing how we would preach the book in question in one go. I had been given Ecclesiastes, which was quite a challenge. Constructive feedback followed, and we had valuable discussions.
The Panel had some good questions on pastoral and preaching issues, and the answers given were warm and practical.
All in all a great few days, I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who teaches the Bible to others in whatever capacity.