Alaska Pastors, Elders Gather for Training

March 21, 2016 | Ken Crawford

In the Last Frontier, where districts are remote and pastors and elders are isolated, training takes on a whole new meaning.

In early January, all Alaska pastors, bivocational pastors, Bible workers and missionaries came together on just such an occasion. It started with a delightful fun-filled, Hawaiian-luau themed banquet for all attendees and their families. This was followed by three days of training, small-group work and fellowship. 

Walt Williams, retired North American Division ministerial associate and InMinistry Center director, gave several seminars on spiritual growth. Darold Bigger, Walla Walla University assistant to the president, gave excellent presentations on the pastor’s role in facilitating forgiveness in the congregation. Many of those attending were impressed with the presentations and the invaluable information they were able to glean from these two speakers. 

The following weekend, elders from the various districts joined their pastors, along with missionaries and others who had attended the meetings during the week. They came for joint training on the role of spiritual shepherds in the church.

This training weekend was intense, with back-to-back seminars and workshops throughout the day. Take-home resources were made available to those attending the pastors' meeting as well as the elders' meeting.

“Single-best training I have ever had as an elder” was one of many comments that were made. 

Another said, “I have been going along just thinking my role as an elder was to arrange the church service and preach once in a while. I had no idea what it meant to be a spiritual shepherd of the flock. My eyes have been opened.” 

The positive feedback has inspired conference leaders to continue with this yearly training for the pastors and elders to meet together.