An Interview with the Prof.

4 Aug

And so, the week had flew by, and Gartmore was indeed over, a fantastic week enjoyed by all with many memories to cherish. On the Saturday morning, the various Conferee’s left the Conference Centre car by car, driving out of the Trossach’s area and making their way to either the Ports or Airports to go home. Having secured a lift home with Uncle Robert the week previous, this blogger saw a glimmer of opportunity which he took with both hands, and now for your reading pleasure, I have secured the first post-Gartmore interview with the Speaker for the week. So sit back and relax, read on as we gain an insight into how Prof. Robert McCollum really found the week and the various things he came away with…

1. What motivated you to speak on the book of Haggai during the week?

I was aware that the Conference coincided with the 450th anniversary of the Scottish Reformation and so I had to select a Bible passage or book that would, to some extent, illustrate that theme.  Having prayed about the matter for some months I believed that Haggai was not only suitable as we reflected on what God did in the past but contained some very relevant challenges for today.

2. What was the main thing that you yourself took away from the studies in Haggai?

The main thing that I took from Haggai was the importance of a heart commitment to Christ.  We can be so busy doing good things – serving Christ with our head and hands, our lips and feet, but Christ requires that we serve him with our hearts.  In Proverbs 23:26 the Lord says, “My son give me your heart“.  The Jews had returned to temple rebuilding but in their hearts they were not devoted to the Lord (Haggai 2:17).  It is so vital for us to be wholehearted in the worship, witness and service that we give to Christ.

3. What was the biggest encouragement received during the week?

There were many things that encouraged me.  The greatest however came when Jonathan and Adrienne Haney (Pennsylvania), reported on their experience with the 11-14 year olds (Reformed Youth Crew).  They informed the conference on ‘reflection night’ how much that age group had gained from the sermons and how they were able to discuss intelligently the points of application made from Haggai.

4. What was your favourite activity while staying in Scotland?

Because I was speaking each morning I purposefully avoided many of the activities so that I could rest, prepare and pray for the next day’s preaching.  However, I did go to Edinburgh on the Reformation Tour and thoroughly enjoyed the tour which included Giles Cathedral, National Museum of Scotland and Greyfriars churchyard.  This visit helped to remind me of some of the facts associated with the Scottish Reformation.  The highlight of the afternoon was the Conventicle at the Grassmarket where 150 of us worshipped God and remembered the sacrifice made by many of our spiritual ancestors who were executed at that spot for the Crown Rights of King Jesus and the Covenanted Work of Reformation.

5 . What was your favourite seminar and why?

My favourite seminar was ‘Show and Tell – communication techniques for pastors, SS teachers, HBC leaders and parents’ by Ken and Floy Smith.

So much of my ministry is about communicating.  To be an effective minister of the gospel good communication is vital.  I am therefore always keen to learn from others who have developed skills in this area.  One of the main things that Ken and Floy reinforced was the importance of being a good listener and asking those seeking help appropriate questions.  It is only when we know where people are at in their lives that we can effectively apply relevant gospel truths.

6. How demanding is it to speak at a week of Conference?  What rewards are there for you?

I have to say that it is extremely demanding.  There has to be much prayer.  As well as that there has to be thorough preparation.  Not only must the text be carefully studied in its original context but the Word must be applied in a way that is relevant to the people attending the conference.

A major reward in speaking at a conference is that I was the one who gained most out of the messages from Haggai.  Such a close study of the Word touched my own heart and challenged me over and over again.


7. Did you enjoy speaking at the conference in Scotland over the significant anniversary due to your keen interest in history?

Yes, I did enjoy being in Scotland and at a conference when such a significant anniversary was being commemorated.  I have always been interested in history.  Most research must be carried out in the study or in libraries.  However, being where things actually happened reinforces on the mind what God did in the past and makes it more memorable.

8. Deep, deep, down what would be your first preference of accommodation – the house or the campsite?

This question has made me think.  If truth be told, deep, deep down inside my heart there is still the thrill and excitement of living in a tent and mixing with the others on the campsite at previous conferences.  However, facts have to be faced and bearing in mind the age and stage of my life the more secure accommodation of a house has to be the preference!!

9. What is the main thing that you hope conferees take away from the studies?

Many people came to the conference unsure about what relevance Haggai had for them in serving Christ today.  I hope they went away seeing that this Old Testament book has a message that stirs us up to serve the Lord, challenging our lethargy and complacency and gives us a vision of the glory that is yet to be revealed when Christ returns in all his majesty.

10. Describe your Conference experience with 3 words:

Teaching, Fellowship and Fun.

Robert and wife Sandra, relaxing after a very successful week.

Thank you to Prof. McCollum for this opportunity to interview him!

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