Posted by: Tim | March 30, 2009

2009 Simeon Trust Preaching Workshop

Last week I attended the 2009 Simeon Trust Preaching Workshop, hosted by Southview Alliance Church in Calgary (March 24-26, 2009).   The workshop format was a mix of teaching, preaching and small group time. This was my third consecutive year attending, and as in past years, I was blessed by the Lord through it.

This year’s book of the Bible was Zechariah, a book that I have read when I go through the Bible, but not one that I have ever studied (though I always enjoy the part at the end (ch14) where the Lord touches down on the Mount of Olives!). This year’s presenters were Kent Hughes , Barry Webb and Carey Hughes (more on the speakers at the bottom of this post).

Small group time is always fun because each person takes two turns presenting previously assigned passages from the book we are studying. David Atmore and I (David is vice chair of our elders board), were both in Barry Webb’s group. Barry has written a commentary on Zechariah in the Bible Speaks Today series (a series I have found to be quite good), so he knows a thing or two (i.e. a lot!) about the book. What made it especially interesting was that I come from a pre-millennial, dispensational perspective on my eschatology, and that was not the interpretive approach taken at the workshop (I realize that ‘dispensational’ can be a loaded term for some, so for now just understand that I believe the millennium is the literal, future, 1000 year reign of Christ on earth, and that God still has a future for the nation of Israel and there are biblical promises yet to be fulfilled for her). Zechariah is a prophetic book complete with horseman, chariots, lampstands, flying scrolls, etc…, capped off by the Lord’s grand return in chapter 14 to the Mount of Olives to judge the nations and to reign over the whole earth. Zechariah contains lots of promises for the future of Israel, that I expect will be literally fulfilled one day, but some interpret them as being promises for the church. It was really interesting and helpful for me to see how a highly respected OT scholar handled the passages. I was appreciative of Barry’s humble style and helpful insights into the text. I also appreciated his graciousness in interacting with David and I on some of the interpretive issues, where we had different perspectives.

I was blessed by the large group times as well. A highlight for me was hearing Kent Hughes preach an encouraging message for pastors, from 1 Timothy 4 (Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching). Carey Hughes challenged us to feed on the word of God, in order to feed others, from John 21 (Feed my sheep).  Barry Webb preached two messages from Zechariah and also provided instruction on how to study and preach from it.

There was also some good question and answer time. It was great to hear about Kent Hughes’ sermon preparation process, and also to hear who could bench more, Kent or Carey (Thanks to Carlin for asking that  ‘pressing’ question that no doubt was on everyone’s mind!). Barry Webb graciously answered my question about the difference in approach that a pastor coming from a pre-mill perspective would take, in preaching through Zechariah.

A final highlight was the interaction with all the other pastors.  It was great to meet people and reconnect with others,  and to talk about preaching, and about ministry in general with other pastors from all around the province, from different church backgrounds. Baptist, Alliance, Associate Gospel, Anglican and Non-denominational churches were all represented. There were about forty-five or so people in attendance, giving it a lot more personal feel than a larger conference. It’s also great for interacting with the workshop leaders as you have time and opportunity to ask them questions.

All in all it was a good workshop and I’m glad I went again this year. I should add what a great job Clyde Glass and the team at Southview Alliance do each year in hosting it and keeping us well fed!

PS: Here’s a little more about the main presenters:

Kent Hughes pastored in Wheaton for 40 years at College Church and he founded the Simeon Trust. I have been blessed through his Preach the Word commentary series, specifically the volumes he authored on The Sermon on the Mount, Colossians and John (just used it for last Sunday’s message), and I had the chance to thank him for the series. Barry Webb is an OT theology professor from Moore Theological College in Sidney, Australia. He is a widely respected theologian and author (including being the contributor for the introduction and notes for the book of Esther in the new ESV Study Bible). Carey Hughes is the Assistant Pastor at Christ the Redeemer Church in Spokane, Washington where he leads youth ministries and preaches as well. He studied under Barry Webb at Moore College. He is  a gifted preacher and has a great sense of humour. He grew up in a pastor’s home and you may be able to guess which other presenter is his father!

PS#2: For more about the Simeon Trust and for information about future preaching workshops, click here.

PS#3: Someday, maybe I’ll blog more about eschatology – premill, amill, etc… For now here’ the book review I did of Kim Riddlebarger’s A Case for Amillennialism.


  1. Sounds great! Makes me want to get the recordings of the instructions and expositions. Glad to hear it went well.

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