History of the Southeastern Workers Conference
The Southeastern Workers Conference gathered for the first time on February 21 and 22, 1952 at the gospel Center in Durham. It was inaugurated out of concern for full time workers and elders to spend time together to share concerns, problems and to exchange ideas in gospel outreach, Church planning and other subjects of mutual interest.A desire was expressed to meet annually for two days during the week of George Washington’s birthday in different cities in the southern states as invitations were extended by local assemblies. In the interest of good attendance, an effort was made to convene in areas where it was practical mileage-wise.
Very soon subjects were introduced that were of interest to Sunday School teachers, superintendants, deacons, personnel workers and others. So the term Workers included any believer who manifested an interest in the overall work of the Lord. In recent years, the conference has included men and women, and all have been encouraged to attend. Attendance has grown from 45 to approximately 175.
The host assembly provides lodging for out-of-town guests. If convenient, the hosts in the homes in which guests are lodgingprovides breakfast. All other meals are secured at nearby restaurants at conferees expenses. Light refreshments are generally provided by the host assembly during mid-morning and mid-afternoon recesses. On occasions the host assembly volunteers to supply one or more meals. This is considered beyond the call of duty, but is greatly appreciated when convenient. Down through the years, a few guests have preferred to secure motel accommodations at their expense. The host assembly makes reservations whenever requested to do so. The host assembly is asked to provide space for various ministry and/or book displays that may be approved by the program committee.
In order to use the time wisely it became necessary to appoint a program committee. These men are selected by the conferences to provide a program that will be profitable to the greatest number. Subjects are solicited from anyone who attends. It became practical to select a program committee whose members were within a reasonable distance of each other since it often requires two or three meetings to arrive at a complete agenda.
In recent years three men have been selected and each year one is replaced by a new qualified program committeeman to be elected at the annual business session. It has become practical that the next year’s host assembly provide one man, called a registrar, to work with the committee to help arrange the proper facilities. It also became necessary to elect a secretary to keep the mailing list up to date, send out announcements, keep minutes of details, a record of offerings and mailing expenses. The secretary is elected for a three year term at the appropriate annual business session. The secretary is a member of the program committee and is not eligible for re-election.
All men who are interested in the Lord’s work should feel free to attend this conference and to express ways and means whereby it can be improved. Such suggestions should be mailed to the secretary or any member of the program committee.
Special care has been taken that this conference will not become a body of men who will formulate policies to govern assembly life and practices. We are all agreed that autonomy of the local church must be maintained. The assemblies that have hosted one or more of these annual conferences have expressed the blessing that it brought to many individuals who enjoyed having guests in their home.An invitation for a local assembly to host the conference begins at an elders meeting where someone is selected to express that desire at the conference or by letter to the secretary. Many young men have received help from attending, and thus becoming aware of the many opportunities that still remain for enthusiastic, strong-bodied youth.
It is the desire of the Southeastern Workers Conference that still more men will make whatever effort is necessary to join in these practical discussions that so often lead to real help in our assemblies and in our individual and collective efforts as Christian leaders and workers.
Program Committee – Southeastern Workers Conference