Once again BCSU has organized their leadership conference. This year the conference started on the most Bulgarian holiday – the 3rd of March. The destination was once again the city of Tryanva, in the hotel Seasons. All the student leaders, volunteers and paid staff had a blessed time of studying 2nd Timothy. The theme of the conference was “Pass it on”: sharing your faith and experience to faithful people. Each of us left the four day conference with a very important question: am I a faithful instrument that God can use?
The first evening of the conference began with worship and prayer. Afterwards was a strong opening message for the coming days, given by Craig. He shared with us from the parable about the invitation to the great banquet (Luke 14:16-24) and reminded us that God has prepared something wonderful for us, a great banquet. The Lord has a certain plan for each of us and we need to be ready, with soft hearts, to hear his word. The exhortation was for each of the participants to not miss out on what the Creator had prepared for us. There will always be things that vie for our attention and seek to separate us from God, as in the parable – maybe they are not 5 plowing oxen, but will be the many activities and relationships in our lives. Whatever takes up our time, should never take our focus off of Jesus.
After these strong introductory words the quiet atmosphere was exchanged with the sound of joyful laughter. Why? Because it was then time for games. After a short game for getting to know one another where we shared who we are, where we are from, and what we were thankful for, we began the fun which required acting abilities of the students. They were challenged to act our and explain with gestures different situations and scenes: a small kid who went to the dentist, and someone riding public transportation. It was true comedy and we laughed very hard.
We ended the evening we split into four groups and thought up names for our groups. The first group called themselves “Warriors for the truth”, the second “Earthlings” the third “Beloved” and the fourth “Underneath a crooked pear tree.” Ready for discussion, we began with an introduction to 2nd Timothy. We thought about the questions of “who was Paul?” and “who was Timothy?”
On the following morning (March 4th) we began our day with worship and prayer. Then came the time for our “serious” work: we discussed the goal of our time together and the ways that we would go about studying the passages. In the afternoon Craig and Tanya led a very helpful and practical seminar “Evangelism in practice” which introduced 5 steps in which we could come alongside of God in what he was doing. The heart of the seminar was the parable of God’s kingdom and the sower, in Mark 4:26-29. In order to be witnesses to our Lord, we must nurture relationships of trust with our unbelieving friends. In this way the seed of faith is able to better able to fall on good soil.
Our study of 2nd Timothy continued on the 5th of March and the seminar on evangelism was concluded on this day. In the evening we were encouraged with a message by Martin. In his speech he reminded us that we are a priestly kingdom and it depends on us to pass on what we have learned – for a better, Christian world. He made a wonderful comparison between Jerusalem and Tryavna, which really made us think. The world was changed because of a group from Jerusalem. The 12 apostles who were trained and prepared by our Lord Jesus Christ. They changed our planet as they carried the good news to the four corners of our world. And Tryavna? Why couldn’t a great change take place in our world today from here? All that is needed is faithful people, who pass on discipleship. Deep, right?
The final day of our training was the 6th of March. Again we began with songs of praise, prayer for each of the groups in BCSU throughout the country, and the study of 2nd Timothy. We came to some important conclusions – the importance of a life in relationship to God and the need to be people who are always learning. We also talked about growing a Christian character and a life based on biblical principles. And we were provoked to discover a clear purpose and calling in our lives that would inspire us. Most importantly, we need to be people who live the life of a disciple.