In Touch Ministries’ pastor training conference originated from the 30 Life Principles of Dr. Charles Stanley. These are biblical precepts that emerged time and again from Dr. Stanley’s study of God’s Word. The first two, dealing with our level of intimacy with God and our commitment to obey Him despite the outcome, are the most personal of these truths, passed down to Dr. Stanley from his grandfather.
The principles were developed to reflect the practical lessons of Scripture. And as we developed curriculum to lead believers into a growing relationship with Christ, we began to dream of how these resources could equip believers who have limited access to biblical instruction. The Life Principles Conference was borne from this conviction—to train pastors and other Christian leaders to be disciple-makers in their nations and communities.
Where has the conference been held?
To date, in over 40 countries on six continents. Venezuela was host to our first Life Principles conference in 2010 and Ecuador and Kenya hosted our most recent events in early 2020. In between, we’ve been to nations such as Albania, Bolivia, Cameroon, Columbia, El Salvador, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Sudan, and Ukraine. And our global footprint keeps expanding.
Why do we send teachers instead of just providing resources?
As Bill Loveless, one of our most-traveled conference trainers puts it, “Resources don’t make disciples, people do.” To have a live trainer, available to answer your questions and relay their own experiences, takes our content to the next level. Additionally, the students benefit from the community they forge. Many remain connected as partners in the gospel for years to come.
What do attendees receive from In Touch?
In addition to the live instruction, each pastor or leader in attendance receives a Messenger—and sometimes several for their church—that contains the Bible in their own language as well as sermons from Dr. Stanley. And each pastor receives a hardcover Life Principles Bible.
For many, the highlight of the conference is the electronic tablet from our Messenger Lab. For those ministers who work remotely or in places without a strong internet connection, the tablet isn’t simply a tool, but a treasure. It contains:
- Dr. Stanley’s 30 Life Principles
- Audio and written sermons
- Bible commentaries, dictionaries, and encyclopedias
- Classic Christian literature
- Discipleship training courses
- An offline Bible
How does it work?
When the Life Principles Conference comes to a region, many of the attendees travel hours to get there. Some walk, others arrive by moped, charter bus, or even by boat. All are eager to cover the distance and set aside the time for training they could not otherwise receive.
The ideal conference gathering is 15 to 30 people, providing an attractive student-to-teacher ratio. In most cases the teaching is contained over two days, but recently some of our sessions have expanded to three, as the first meeting becomes an opportunity to share evangelism methods with the students.
The 30 Life Principles are divided into six sections, each one featuring paired principles so that similar concepts can be studied together. There are also four leaders’ lessons focused on practical ministry. As a result of the course, attendees will be equipped in such things as how to study the Bible, how to write a sermon, and how to lead their congregation in wisdom. They also learn a great deal from one another in small groups as they discuss the material and apply it practically. Often the students who attend have already faced some challenging situations in their churches and our teachers can help them navigate these waters for the future. The beauty of the principles is that they guide the reader to God’s Word, the ultimate source of wisdom.
What are your plans for the future?
More places, more languages. While the Life Principles Conference has concentrated on English (with local translation) and Spanish language learners, we are eyeing completion of a Russian language course. And in the years to come, we hope to multiply our language offerings.
One of our favorite advances is the development of national leaders who are able to learn from a first exposure to the conference to become teachers themselves. When we find great local teaching candidates, it’s exciting to promote them to teach alongside our In Touch staffers on a return visit to the region. We also have partnered with ministries with a strong presence in certain areas and they take the seminar to pastors and leaders in these areas where they have already laid a strong foundation.
How much does it cost?
The Life Principles Conference and resources are free to all of our attendees. Students stay in comfortable accommodations, and their meals are provided via arrangements we make with our local coordinators.
Through your partnership, the good news of Jesus Christ is going where it’s needed most. Through the tools of the Messenger Lab, we’re reaching the lost, making disciples, and equipping pastors and Christian leaders as they obey the Great Commission.