44 Years: 8 Ways The Shepherds’ Conference Has Changed 

"Now I bring several large plastic containers to bring home to Rhode Island with me."

Since 1973, The Shepherds’ Conference has welcomed ten’s of thousands of men, young and old, to study the responsibility of preacherhood with men like Steven Lawson, Albert Mohler, and John MacArthur. Many will tell you, however, that the Shepherds’ Conference has changed drastically since its first installment. Here are eight ways the Shepherds’ Conference has changed since that fateful week in 1973:

1. Those who attend The Shepherds’ Conference are no longer required to sleep in the dam of a beautiful Eurasian beaver.

When the Shepherds’ Conference launched forty-four years ago, it was a requirement for all attendees to sleep in the dam of the majestic and noble Eurasian beaver. Quite obviously, this took place before they received large rocks that functioned as “tickets” to get inside. Many men that attended that first conference meeting recall the difficult nature of scoping out a dirty beaver, confirming it was in fact a Eurasian, attempting to domesticate it, and staying warm for the one month challenge.

2. The lice epidemic is finally under control.

Thirty long years after the first Shepherds’ Conference it was confirmed that nobody returned home with a heeping pile of lice larvae in their hair. The Lice Larvae statue located near the book store commemorates this decades-long struggle to rid the conference of this disgusting beast.

3. Everyone is served a nice helping of corn hash, not just those given the beautiful “Almond of the Elect.”

“I remember running as fast I could onto the ‘ShepCon’ property to receive my ‘Almond of the Elect,'” 90-year old Royce Tilth recalls. “I wanted that large, hot helping of corn hash that only the ‘Almond Holders’ could ingest. Finally, by 2005, everyone received a plate of their famous corn hash. Sure, it is less special to all of us, but now I bring several large plastic containers to bring home to Rhode Island with me.”

4. Those who attend no longer must sit on the shoulders of former NBA stars to reach the hymnals that are tucked away in nearby palm trees.

As of 2008, the inconvenience of handing out tall NBA stars to help ShepCon-goers get their hymnals from palm trees has been replaced with hymnal-holders on the back of each pew seat. Phew!

5. You can say words like “Freezer,” “Teflon,” and “Biscuit” without fear of reprimand.

Jim Forest-Grecian of Alabama: “We weren’t allowed to say some bad words that had particular reference to the kitchen. Now we can say ‘BISCUIT BISCUIT BISCUIT BISCUIT BISCUIT BISCUIT BISCUIT BISCUIT BISCUIT BISCUIT’ all-day long and a security guard won’t tap us on the back of the neck with a real bear claw. Thank goodness for this change!”

6. Every bathroom stall includes a large bucket of barbeque ribs to feast on.

7. The keynote speakers no longer have to jog through the aisles while they preach.

Imagine having to listen to fourteen sermons while the preacher labored up and down the aisles of the entire auditorium. It would be exhausting for you as well, wouldn’t it? That’s exactly what the those who attended those first few Shepherds’ Conferences had to go through. “Up and down, up and down, up and down the aisles they would go. They would slow down, catch their breath, and do their best to continue the next point without throwing up into one of the trash cans strategically placed throughout, but most couldn’t hold it in.”

8. “Bo Jackson Night” is now Thursday night.


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