"Yes, there really is a Kalamazoo" is a slogan you often see in Kalamazoo, Michigan. This is where we had our recent IFCA Church Extension Conference and Convention all last week. We began last Saturday, June 20th for our CE Conference at the Oakwood Bible Church about 15 minutes from the Radisson Hotel where we were staying. For those thinking we just struck it rich, we didn't. The IFCA always gets a great break on these higher class hotels where we can all be together for meals and meetings. The Church Extension Conference is an opportunity for Church Planters & Leadership to join for fellowship, challenge in the Word and updates by various Mission Agencies throughout the country. Our main speaker this year was Steve Wilt, President of Fellowship International Mission which assists local churches and missionaries to carry their ministries effectively. Our theme was "Be Encouraged." It is always a refreshing time to see what God is doing around the country in planting churches, revitalizing the struggling churches and encouraging the strong churches.
The IFCA Convention was held this year at the Raddison in downtown Kalamazoo. Due to a recent rain storm the main dining room was flooded so we had to eat in a couple different rooms throughout the week. Our main session opened Monday night with Dr. Les Loftquist, Executive Director, challenging us from Scripture on being sent to the world to proclaim the gospel. This is in correlation with our theme which is "Vision World." The purpose of Vision World is to enlist 100 churches in 2009 to pray intentionally that God would raise up international vocational missionary church planters from their number, resulting in identifying 100 new international workers from IFCA churches by June 2011. The main speaker this year was Dr. Robert Alderman, Minister-at-Large, and former pastor of Shenandoah Baptist Church in Roanoke, Virginia. We had a number of seminars we could attend, Ladies meetings, Men's Business meetings and fellowship times.
Bob was on the Nominating Committee again this year. The only difference was he was a nominee for a position on the Board of Directors; his name being one of the final six names. Unfortunately they only needed three and Bob wasn't one of them. However, our Executive Director of Northwest Independent Church Extension, Earl Brubaker was voted in this year as the President of IFCA International (he's the one smiling - or is it shock)? We're confident Earl will make a great President as he has a lot of wisdom, discernment and heart for God's leading in the IFCA. Next year's Convention is scheduled for Springfield, Illinois which was the stomping grounds of Abraham Lincoln.