ELBRIDGE, N.Y.—The Northeast Fellowship met for its annual fall conference, NF Next, Oct. 19. The host church, First Baptist Church of Memphis, “handled every curveball well and facilitated a safe and enjoyable experience for all who attended,” says Brian King.
Brian is now executive director of the Northeast Fellowship after serving as associate director since 2018. Jim Vogel, who previously served as executive director, is now associate director. The conference highlighted that change in leadership, which went into effect Sept. 1, and looked ahead to the Northeast Fellowship’s continuing mission of revitalizing churches and providing strategies that support churches in tough times.
“While the fellowship has hosted this conference every year, it’s never been quite like this year!” Brian says. To keep people safe in the midst of the pandemic, the event shifted to a one-day schedule and a hybrid format of both in person and online.
Whether attending in person or remotely, attending churches were blessed with “an enriching and encouraging time that addressed the hard realities of ministering in 2020 while celebrating the unexpected blessings God has given along the way,” Brian says.
The opening session, “Leading Off,” shared testimonies of God’s work in the Northeast Fellowship this year and offered tools for pastors and churches for 2021 and beyond. One of those tools is the March launch of the fellowship’s Northeast School of Theology and Ministry, which will provide pastoral training at an affordable cost. Staff with advanced degrees and ministry experience will teach the classes in person and online, enabling students to earn a certificate in pastoral ministry.
The Northeast Fellowship also presented its Fellowship Faithful award, an honor for people who have faithfully served in church ministry. Recipient Bob Cook has pastored seven churches in the network and now serves as an interim pastor in his retirement. He has attended the fall conference for over 35 consecutive years.
Jim and Jeannie Vogel also received the Fellowship Faithful award for their leadership in the Northeast Fellowship. Jim was executive director for the past eight years and has served in youth and senior pastorates for 30 years. He and Jeannie are both Regular Baptist Press authors, with Jim writing The Pastor: A Guide for God’s Faithful Servant and Jeannie writing Our Sovereign God, Meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John, and Accepting the Challenge: Leadership Lessons from the Life of Moses.