I thank God for the annual Preachers Initiative at the Highland Oaks Church of Christ in Dallas. I thank God that Pat Bills and the people at Hope Network limit this yearly experience to preachers only — no elders, no youth ministers, no executive pastors. I need these three days with my fellow proclaimers of the Gospel. The Initiative soothes my soul, re-ignites my spirit, and reminds me why we do this very hard thing we all do.

It’s a unique setting there at Highland Oaks the first week of November. It’s preachers only. And it’s desperately needed by all of us — the ones who freely admit it and the ones who won’t.

Because there are some jokes only preachers get.
There are some experiences only preachers share.
There are some blessings only preachers receive.
There are  some burdens only preachers carry.
There are some heartaches only preachers understand.
There are some doubts only preachers have.

I needed to hear Chris Seidman remind me why preaching matters. I needed to hear Bryan and Mallory‘s powerful sermons from Matthew 23. I needed to listen as five of my brothers and sisters shared sermon prep strategies and delivery decisions. I needed to be there when John Alan Turner talked to us about Tri-Perspectivalism and the divinely ordained diversity required to faithfully lead a church of God’s people. And, oh brother, did I so need to hear William Willimon. What a blessing and a joy to meet and listen to this faithful teacher of preachers. It was incredibly encouraging and deeply satisfying to hear in person the heart of this great man who gave us Peculiar Speech and The Intrusive Word and Resident Aliens. I needed all of that.

But the main reason I take three days and drive six hours to and from Dallas each year is to spend the time with preachers only.

Thank you, Pat and Liz and Jon and Grady and everybody at Highland Oaks and Hope Network. You bless me. You bless all of God’s preachers.