Attend Bible Lectures or Workshops/Conventions? Why?

So I just spent a few days in Malibu taking in the 2011 Pepperdine Bible Lectures.

Airiel and I had a good time as did our children. One of the neat things about Pepperdine’s program is the emphasis they place on quality content not only for mom and dad, but also for the little ones. It brings a smile to my face to hear my kids talk about how much fun they’re having in their classes.

The PBLs and Tulsa Workshop are the only lectureships I attend regularly.  If you don’t know what a lectureship is, it’s basically a big convention for people in ministry or church members who dig excellent preaching and vibrant worship. The fellowship I’m apart of (Churches of Christ) offers several lectureships every year, each one independent of the other. Since there’s not an overseeing governing board leading all Churches of Christ, there’s not one big convention we all go to (there are pros and cons to that), and since there are so many different conventions, we’re left with the option of choosing which we’d like to attend or not attend.

That leads me to my question: if you choose to attend a lectureship, how do you make the decision which to go to? What motivates you to sacrifice the time and expense involved? Have you ever attended a lectureship and gone away from it disappointed? Why? What has been your best lectureship experience, and why do you say so? Which lectureship is consistently the best one to attend, and why?

As a new Christian and young minister-in-training, lecture programs (particularly the Tulsa Workshop) positively shaped me by exposing me to great Bible teaching. Nowadays in attending lectures I still enjoy good Bible teaching, but love more than anything the fellowship with friends and family I do not get to see often, and get more out of being exposed to practical ministry ideas/strategies from effective leaders God has blessed than anything else (unfortunately most lecture programs do not place a great emphasis on ministry practicum – this really should change).

What about you?

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9 thoughts on “Attend Bible Lectures or Workshops/Conventions? Why?

  1. G says:

    I’m gonna make a pilgrimage to Tulsa and to Pepperdine one day soon (probably after I complete my doctoral studies). I do enjoy the campus ministry events I attend immensely. Hopefully my school schedule will allow me to attend the lectures at Heritage University this September….

  2. K. Rex Butts says:

    Have I ever attended a lectureship and left disappointed? Hmmm… I just leave it at saying that I have never been disappointed by the PBL in the two times I have attended.

    As for why I attend… The teaching, worship, and fellowship with old friends and the new friends I meet. It all becomes a very refreshing week.

    Grace and Peace,


    P.S., It was great to visit with you. Your love for God and non-believers is always an encouragement.

    • WesWoodell says:

      Enjoyed spending time with you last week, Rex 🙂

      As for your reluctance to share from your experience: lecture planners really appreciate feedback, positive or negative.

      You have something to say – please say it. You don’t have to share names or specifics.

      • K. Rex Butts says:

        Ok… I was referring to the Bible Lectures of our Alma Mater, Harding University. My criticism which I have shared was that the Bible Lectures in general just reinforced one particular view point, that of the traditional CoC, when it came to the big questions that are being asked by churches/Christians. The problem is that for many people, including myself, we grew up with those viewpoint but no longer believe they are biblically adequate answers to the questions being asked. Therefore the lectures of this particular university became more frustrating (especially listening to the open forum).

        Any ways, I did share my concerns with a couple of people whom I though might have some influence in the planning of the lectures but I was told that as long as the current administration was in place, not to expect much change. I should also say that the last time I attended a lectureship at this university was in 2006, so things could have changed some since then but I don’t see much to convince me of that yet. For instance, I have spent most of my last five years ministering in post-Christian environments that are far from the Bible-Belt and I am convinced that the issue churches are facing is not how to maintain the authority of scripture in a postmodern context but how to live the claim of the gospel we make in an authentic way (because more and more of society simply sees Christianity as a bunch of people who believe differently than the rest of the world but live pretty much the same as the rest of the world…and certainly not like the Jesus we claim to be Lord).

        I will say that my criticism is in noway intended to mean that I or anyone else would not be encouraged from attending. Nor is my criticism to say that all of the speakers/teachers would not be worth listening too. If I lived closer to Harding, I would probably attend. But because of my location and the travel involved, I can only attend so many lectures/conferences. As a result, I have chosen Pepperdine and the Rochester College Streaming Conference. Of course, those are not the only ones I might attend. I would like to attend sometime the Tulsa Workshop and ACU’s Summit…and if I were a Campus/Young-Adult Minister, the Gulfcoast Getaway seems like a good program too.

        Well, there’s my opinion for whatever it’s worth.

        Grace and Peace,


  3. WesWoodell says:

    I hear you, Rex. Harding’s Lectureship has been the subject of much criticism in the past few years, mainly for the stance lecturers have taken on certain issues. Many church leaders have left me with the impression they believe Harding’s program is behind the curve by about ten or fifteen years when compared to others. I’ve even heard this sentiment expressed by members of the school’s Bible faculty.

    The last one I attended was in 2007. The hot topic then was Richland Hills’ addition of their Saturday night instrumental service.

    • K. Rex Butts says:

      I can only imagine… That’s both funny and sad. It tells me how much they ARE NOT listening to a growing voice in the CoC. I’m not saying that HU needs to endorse instrumental worship but to make that the hot topic…that is not going to help church/Christian live as authentic witnesses in a post-Christian world, it simply enables people to remain frozen in a particular era while the rest of the world moves on.

  4. Tulsaoilman says:

    I attend the Tulsa Workshop every year and really enjoy it. I live to far to go to pepPerdine and after trying ACU I don’t care to go there. And Rex, if you like Gulfcoast Getaway you should try “Family Vacation” It’s off the chain good.

  5. Terry says:

    I have had a hard time getting motivated to attend lectureships in recent years. In many cases, speakers hold some very strange doctrinal positions (such as denying the need for sinners to place faith in Christ, denying the inerrancy of Scriptures, and denying the omniscience of God).

    I always liked the Urban Ministry Conferences. I attended 2 of the last 3 before they ceased to exist. They were both inspiring and practical.

    In the last 10 years, I have been able to attend 2 of the National Missionary Conventions of the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ. They were also inspiring and practical.

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