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Reflections from the CBM National Conference (by Stephen Simpson)

Over Labor Day weekend I had the privilege of leading the congregational singing at the CBM (Children’s Bible Ministries) National Conference. The conference was held at Camp Gilead and marked the 75th anniversary of CBM. Pastor Osborne was there as well doing the preaching in all of the main sessions.

Children’s Bible Ministries
CBM was started in 1935 by a man named Walter Jensen. It has grown from a small camp in Polk City, FL to encompass ministries in Oklahoma, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. (Click here for a listing of all of their ministries/camps)  Its ministries focus on Summer Camps, Released Time/After-school Bible clubs, and Bible Correspondence Lessons.

One of the highlights of the conference was hearing the reports from the various ministries. Time and time again we heard fascinating testimonies of God’s provision. CBM missionaries told of land, facilities, labor, and money all being graciously provided by God. It was so encouraging to see God working all across the country.

It was also staggering to consider the number of children that are ministered to by these various ministries. Thousands of children are taught the Bible each month through Released Time classes. Thousands more attend one of the summer camps each summer. Praise the Lord – many children have been saved through these ministries. 

Substitute Song Leader
The usual song leader for these National Conferences was unable to attend this year and so I was asked to ‘fill-in.’ My assignment was to lead the congregation in singing during each of the sessions. Normally, this would not be a difficult or daunting assignment. However, I had to play the piano and lead the congregation at the same time – a new experience for me.

To prepare for the conference, I selected roughly 20 or so songs and began to practice singing while playing. My thought was to have a collection of songs ready for use and then just plug them in throughout the conference as they are needed.  I made many mistakes, but I trust the Lord still used the songs to speak to the hearts of those who were there.

Here is a list of the songs we ended up singing:

  • Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)
  • And Can It Be?
  • As Long As You Are Glorified – I sang this as a solo during one of the sessions
  • Be Thou My Vision
  • Great is Thy Faithfulness – Conference Theme
  • How Deep the Father’s Love for Us
  • How Great Thou Art
  • In Christ Alone
  • It is Well With My Soul
  • The Power of the Cross
  • The Solid Rock
  • To God Be the Glory
  • Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Conclusion
CBM is a unique ministry. No two ministries within CBM are exactly alike. Some are well-established. Others are just beginning. Some have large staffs. Others have just a few. The one area in which they are all alike is that God has used each ministry for His glory. May God bless CBM with another 75 years of faithful ministry.