CHBC Weekender – 30 Things I Will Remember

March 20, 2008

1. The elders meeting.
2. Joining fifty Christian brothers in singing “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” unaccompanied at the outset of the leader’s meeting.
3. The Capitol Hill elders praying by name through several pages of their membership directory.
4. Meeting times, Washington style (6pm – midnight).
5. The wonderful generosity of everyone at Capitol Hill, offering many books for free and allowing us to stay in their homes to cut costs.
6. The 150 page note book full of fascinating documents.
7. The great humility of Dever and the other staff shown in their willingness to receive critical feedback in terms of services and the Weekender itself.
8. How close the pastoral staff live to the church building and to each other.
9. The fact that the CHBC staff, with the senior pastor leading the charge, took time to learn all fifty names of those present.
10. Enjoying fellowship with men from all over the United States and from as far afield as India and Bolivia.

(Photo by StormCrypt; Creative Commons License)

11. The servant-spirit of the interns who willingly gave of themselves to the visitors in so many ways.
12. Dr Dever’s study. Can I get one of these?!
13. That Mark’s study is invariably filled with people reading books and asking questions – even during sermon prep!
14. Being told by several Weekenders that they spent late Saturday night in the pastor’s study as he read through his sermon and invited their feedback.
15. Sitting next to a church member in the morning service who said that he had never previously “been part of a church like this.” “The leaders”, he informed me, “really care for the congregation as individuals. We’re not just numbers on a roll.”
16. The Sunday morning service singing – especially when devoid of accompanyment.
17. That during morning and evening services, pastors from other local churches were specifically prayed for.
18. The fact that 2/3 of the evening service congregation stayed on for the bi-monthly members meeting. They all sat gladly for a further hour and a half.
19. Church discipline being discussed and executed in terms of protecting the honour of Christ’s name.
20. The senior pastor’s gripping sermon (all 1 hour 4 minutes of it) entitled: “He bore our sins in his body on the tree.”


21. Mark Dever’s comment on Saturday night that he deliberately ties himself to his manuscript when preaching in order to contain his gregarious personality. He wants the service to be about the person of the Lord Jesus, not Mark Dever’s personality.
22. That we started a services feedback session at 10pm on the Sunday night…
23. The complementary and God-glorifying gifts of Michael Lawrence, Deepak Reju, Matt Schmucker, Andy Johnson and Mike Gilbart-Smith.
24. The unrelenting commitment to hospitality among the CHBC leaders and the fact that this aspect of the elder’s role is taken so seriously.
25. The heartfelt, biblical and specific intercessory prayer of pastor Mark for his congregation.
26. Matt Schmucker’s passion for the local church and love for the small church pastor.
27. The focus on ecclesiology. Capitol Hill Baptist thinks much more in terms of “we” than “I”.
28. How thought-through everything was: from small groups to children’s ministry, from missions to money. I learned something helpful in practically every area of church life.
29. The gospel exulting OT reflection given by Scott Croft (elder) on Sunday evening.
30. The irony that the only Scottish attender to the weekend should live with the one member of staff who is English 🙂 Thank you Mike and Hannah.


  1. Great summary. I went to a weekender in 2006 and expereienced the same sort of things. I will never know how much that weekend impacts my ministry.

  2. It is great to hear you went to one of the weekenders. I went about 4 years ago and it was probably the best use my of time with regards to learing about ministry that I have spent. So much in so little time.

  3. Thank you so much for letting us in on your experience. So much of what you wrote gave me occasion to be thankful to God for my fellow pastors and my senior pastor in particular. Some of what you wrote is provoking and will become fodder for prayer for us as we seek to lead and care for the church biblically.

  4. This was a great reminder of how blessed and encouraged I was when I went to a weekender in Feb of 2007. I was able to stay with Michael Lawrence. What a blessing. I echo all the posts you wrote. A great time and would encourage many a pastor to attend one if willing for a time of encouragement and spiritual refreshment.

  5. Colin, This is PJ, intern at CHBC. Thanks for posting these thoughts and encouraging the interns in #11. We are unworthy servants doing only what we ought to have been doing.

    I have a question I wanted to discuss with you while you were here but missed the opportunity because I didn’t want to interrupt some of your conversations. What do you think about Bryan Chapell’s suggestion to label your main headings in the second person and use the imperative to make sure the application is being driven at as you prepare and deliver the sermon?

    It was good to have you hear brother.

  6. Wow. Sounds like the stuff that dreams are made of…


  7. PJ,

    I think Chapell’s approach can be quite gripping to listen to – purely from a homiletical point of view. I sometimes use it myself if I feel its appropriate. Obviously, if the listener knows from the big idea itself how the truth will apply to them, they are bound to listen more intently.

    That said, I think there can be a danger to follow this format rigidly. For one thing, I’m not always convinced there is something for us to *do* in response to every sermon.

    We can run the risk of conveying the idea that rightly responding to any sermon involves merely ticking off a check list of activities (pray more; read the bible more; evangelise more). I’m not saying that’s what Chapell is proposing – after all, his whole thing is preaching redemptive sermons. I’m only suggesting that the approach itself, woodenly used, could lend to that kind of misuse.

    The bible is fundamentally gospel. It tells us of God’s great ‘work’, and conversely our ‘failure to apply.’ Thus we must be sure that people approach God by grace not merit.

  8. Colin,

    I really enjoyed getting to know you over the Weekender. I couldn’t agree more with the list of 30 memorable things. I have been impressed with this blog and I will be passing the link on to my friends. God bless you Colin.

    Brian Wiseman

  9. Brian,

    It was a pleasure to meet you. I’m sure we could have also added other memorable things to the list – but 30’s probably pushing it! It was a remarkable weekend, wasn’t it?


  10. Hello Colin,

    I would have enjoyed having more time to chat with you during the weekender; but so many people, so little time. Thank you for your blog and your comments on the weekender. It was well worth the long trip, wasn’t it?

    Blessings to you,

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