New Geneva Academy Shepherds Conference

Early bird registration ends on September 1. I would love to meet many of you in person. Come to Bloomington! October 6-7. Stay for the Evangel Presbytery meeting on Oct. 8!

Pastors, elders, deacons and their wives are the primary audience…but anyone interested, particularly aspiring officers, should attend.


Funny story about this conference (though from back before it had this name).

I was in my late twenties, just out of seminary, and helping a friend plant a church in Bloomington. The pastors’ conference wasn’t something I knew anything about, but somehow I got registered and went. It was life-changing. Water to a parched soul refreshing. I truly mean that. The preaching was encouraging and convicting for pastors. None of this sycophantic ‘Brother we know how hard your calling is.’ Just bold and biblical but also truly helpful instruction on pastoral ministry. The singing was outstanding. I’ll never forget all the men belting out ‘My Hope is in the Lord.’ The food was fantastic, which, let’s be honest, is sometimes lacking at pastors’ gigs.

But it was over dinner the I got myself into trouble with @tbbayly. He asked what I did. I told him I worked in the railroad industry. He asked a few more questions about my work, and somehow I mentioned going to a rail yard in Indy called a ‘hump yard.’

Again, I didn’t know much about this crew, but I knew they took sexual matters very seriously. And here I was using a perfectly legitimate term but one that has crass sexual connotations in our current society. So when I realised what I’d said I tied myself in knots trying to explain what I was talking about, and feeling very very silly. I must have been staring at my lasagna as I talked, because when I looked up @tbbayly was just laughing! Come to find out later he’d also worked in the railroads. He knew what I was talking about but just me hang for a while!

Needless to say, I’m very sorry not to be able to make it this October and would heartily encourage anyone within a day’s drive to make it a priority. It won’t disappoint.


You have a good memory—better than mine. Yup, was a member of the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen back for part of a year in 1974 or so, working as a car knocker and air brakeman at the car repair facility of Chicago & Northwestern RR’s Proviso (hump) Yard where 3-4,000 cars a day were sorted into trains. Union Pacific shut down Proviso’s hump two years ago. Other than the pastorate, it was the best job I ever had. Very dangerous and therefore very much all for one and one for all among the men on our shift. We had a great foreman who, the first day on the job, let out this exclamation expressing his frustration at something: “Who is John Galt?” I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Here’s a pic of the shop we worked in (3 tracks coming out in upper left):


But about you, Aaron, I’ve so appreciated your wise contributions here and can’t wait to meet again, so thanks very much for saying good words about the conference. Warmly in Christ,