Bishop Iona Locke, pastor of the Abyssinia Christ Centered Ministries, will host the 10th annual Kingdom Conference and Institute, August 21-22, at Abyssinia in Southfield, Michigan. The two-day gathering brings together pastors and ministers from around the country and the world to learn, share, and decompress.
Bishop Locke began this conference and institute to provide pastors with the support they need to sustain their ministries and families. “The challenges are endless and the problems are many, and sometimes the burden is so heavy that you want to quit” she says. “It’s a unique dance that has to take place, but everyone has to come off the floor healthy and whole.”
Statistics support the need for this kind of institute. Research by the Fuller Institute, Pastoral Care.com, and other research entities show: 90 percent of the pastors report working between 55 to75 hours per week; 80 percent believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families; 75 percent report a significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry; 70 percent feel grossly underpaid; 90 percent feel they are inadequately trained to cope with the ministry demands; 50 percent feel unable to meet the demands of the job; 50 percent of the ministers starting out will not last 5 years; more than 1,700 pastors left the ministry every month in 2013.
The institute is designed to address many of the issues that pastors regularly face in their ministries through instruction, discussion and time for private reflection. There are morning, afternoon, and evening sessions that focus on matters such as prayer, preaching, church management and leadership and communications, as well as dealing with congregational and individual concerns such as marriage, divorce, and LGBT issues, among other. The sessions are led by prominent leaders in various aspects of ministry. This year’s Institute instructors include Prophetess Denise Baize, co-pastor of the Gifted Life Ministries in the Bronx, New York; Prophet Todd Hall, founder and Chief Apostle of Shabach Ministries of Praise in the Orlando Metropolitan Area in Florida; Elder Damien Sneed, an award-winning pianist, organist, conductor, composer, producer, arranger, vocal coach and lecturer; Pastor Juandolyn Stokes, of Juandolyn Stokes Ministries, and Pastor of Deeper Life in Christ Ministries in Conyers, Georgia; and Bishop J. Douglas Wiley, pastor, Life Center Cathedral in New Orleans, LA.
The institute is designed to provide church leaders, who come from different regions of the country and different parts of the world, with tools that they can use with their various congregations. Each session is designed to provide general information and guidance, while leaving time for participants to discuss how that information could be used to address issues specific to their congregations, so that they can use it in ways that fit the culture of their churches and communities.
Bishop Locke says that while pastors who attend the conference and institute are at various stages in their careers and dealing with various issues in their congregations, they share the same goals. “We come together because we want to be sure that we are master pulpiteers, masters in our character, clear and sharp in the Word, and that we care about our congregation and communities,” says Bishop Locke. “We want to be the best that we can be, and the only way to do that is to take the time to slow it down to learn from the instructors and each other. Iron, sharpens iron.”
Bishop Locke is a celebrated bishop and motivational speaker who has touched the lives of millions worldwide through spoken word and song. In 1993, when Intersound Records released her first recorded albums, What Kind of Fool Are You? and Let’s Get It On!, Bishop Locke made history, becoming the first Pentecostal preacher to have a spoken word CD distributed by a music label. Her most recent recording, Kingdom Victory, is produced and co-written by Damien Sneed, with whom she co-founded LeChateau Earl Records in 2009. Bishop Locke founded Abyssinia Christ Centered Ministries in 1994 and began hosting the Kingdom Victory Conference and Institute in 2004.
The conference is free, but registration is required. For information about registration, housing, and other conference details, please visit, www.bishopionalocke.com.