ANKENY, Iowa—Some of the coldest temperatures in the history of Iowa were not enough to disrupt the Fourth Annual Refresh Conference at Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary. Nearly 250 ministry leaders and their spouses battled cold temperatures, icy roads, and canceled flights in order to attend the conference Jan. 29—Feb. 1.
As its name suggests, the Refresh Conference aims to refresh and encourage those in ministry. The goal, says Jim Tillotson, president of Faith, is to “share joys and burdens with fellow ministry leaders, be encouraged by good preaching and music, and reflect on where you and your ministry are at and where you are headed spiritually.”
Each day, two general sessions took place, followed by workshops, a concert, and a final general session. Tillotson led the first general session. Following him throughout the week were Doug McLachlan, professor of pastoral theology at Central Baptist Theological Seminary; Rand Hummel, director of The Wilds of New England; Jim Berg, professor of Biblical counseling at Bob Jones University Seminary; Marty Herron, executive vice president of Faith; Tim Potter, pastor of Grace Church, Mentor, Ohio; Les Ollila, president of Building Great Leaders; and Dean Taylor, chair of the ministries division and the pastoral training program at Faith.
A combination of Faith faculty, general session speakers, and local ministry leaders led the workshops, covering topics including understanding Generation Z, recovering companionship in marriage, understanding ministers’ taxes, overthinking student ministry, and leading women’s Bible studies.
In addition to attending helpful workshops and hearing great preaching, attendees (representing 21 states) also enjoyed listening to music ensembles throughout the week, including the Blackstone family from Pennsylvania and the Faith orchestra, chorale, and handbell choir. Guests also gathered for nightly receptions and a Wednesday evening banquet. With the cold weather conditions, Faith offered free shuttle service between the conference center and the dining hall.
Since its inception in 2016, the Refresh Conference has grown in registration numbers each year. Next year’s conference is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 28–31.