Saturday, March 16, 2013

Recharging in Monterey, Day 3

Yesterday (Friday) was the third day of Ripon Church of Christ’s 2013 “Recharge: Excellence in Ministry” conference, here in foggy Monterey. Bear Valley Bible Institute instructors Denny Petrillo and Dan Owen finished up their exegeses of Titus and 1 & 2 Kings, respectively. Although I didn’t agree with everything they said, I really enjoyed their classes and appreciate the tools they gave me this week to improve my personal Bible study and any lessons I might give in the future.

The mid-morning sessions also included “Bridging the Cultural Gap” with Jonathan Hinckley, minister of Temple City Church of Christ, and “Creative Teaching Resources for Pre-K & Early Elementary” with Jana Lanning of West Visalia Church of Christ, both of which I’m sure went well. The late morning featured “Personal Evangelism” with James Pfiffner, preacher of North Virginia Street Church of Christ (Reno, NV); “Fiscally Fit” with Bear Valley’s Keith Kasarjian; and “Creative Teaching Resources for Upper Elementary” with Fee Rocha of Rocha Learning Academy and, I presume, Sidney Church of Christ (Sidney, NB). Because I got caught up in something, I ended up missing those sessions, but I’ll probably catch them on audio when that becomes available.

We lunched at Garcia’s Taqueria, which is a little restaurant with an adjoining Mexican market. Following was the finial “Idea Swap,” of which I missed the first few speakers. When I arrived Jovan Payes from Livingston Church of Christ spoke on “Plagiarism: Don’t Take the Chance.” I was impressed that he decided to address this important issue that plagues even churches and preaching schools. However, he didn’t take the time to explain what is and isn’t expected when it comes to attributing sources. I’m concerned that he only encouraged the pendulum to swing the other extreme.

Afterwards, the Recharge organizers – Javon Payes, Cliff Sabroe, Caleb O’Hara, and someone else – paid tribute to Pinky Hawes, a previous organizer who recently passed away. In her memory, they’ve formed the Pinky Hawes Award, to be given to women who’ve been instrumental in the Churches of Christ while still recognizing their “proper place.” The first recipient was Becky Jensen of Angels Camp Church of Christ. A room full of people who didn't clap for their speakers and generally look down on clapping in church burst into applause. I leave you students of social class, religious culture, and gender relations can make whatever you will of this whole incident.

Next came the afternoon program: MinistryGeek Mike Hite returned for a session on “Keywording,” and Wayne Roberts of Parker Church of Christ returned for “Public Speaking 101 Part 2.” I decided to listen to Tyson Kalisz, preacher with Marina Church of Christ, discuss “Effective Small Group Bible Studies.” He mentioned some clear advantages of small groups that churches could take advantage of, recommended some resources to help leaders get started, and make some suggestions on how to tackle problems that often arise. The only thing I remember disagreeing with was his agreement that a group could get started by speaking to a few individuals rather than making an announcement to the entire congregation. That approach might work for large congregations, but in small ones members will find out that they weren’t invited and be offended. This could lead to a lot of trouble.

The final keynote panel addressed “Contemporary Issues” affecting the Churches of Christ today. This was the best panel, both in composition and in the quality of their answers. Denny Petrillo of Bear Valley, Dan Owen of Broadway Church of Christ, and Steve Lloyd, evangelist at Chino Church of Christ, tackled some difficult questions including churches with no elders, coworkers’ anti-religious statements, “disfellowshipping,” and divorce from an abusive spouse. What I liked best is how they addressed the inane belief that situations such as allowing women to serve the Lord’s Supper or translate prayers or including them in business meetings equates to women “having authority.”

Since there were no evening activities planned, we were able to finally get some sightseeing in, but it was rather disappointing. Everything closes early during the tourist off-season. We did get to walk around Monterey State Historic Park (including the grounds surrounding the Pacific House and the Custom House) and the Old Fisherman’s Wharf. The Monterey Symphony Orchestra was sponsoring “Play Me, I’m Yours,” an decorative piano exhibit conceived by artist Luke Jerram. Then we ate at Stammtisch, a German restaurant in back in Seaside before taking a walk on the beach. I ordered the Zigeunerschnitzel, breaded pork with bell pepper sauce, and my husband ordered the Hausplatte, a little of everything. The owners were friendly and really attentive, and the food was great. We totally recommend the place.