Well again, another incredible day yesterday. One meagre blog entry really isn’t enough to do the experience justice.
Kate Coleman kicked off for the speakers with a very poignant lesson for us all: If you want to change the world, change yourself.
As followers of Jesus, we’re in the world changing business but it’s so easy to get caught up in the external things and forget about our own growth and development. Who are your coaches and mentors? Who is challenging you as you develop? What do only you know about yourself that needs to change?
And what are the things about you and your direction that only God knows? That only seeking Him will reveal?
Inspiring and challenging indeed.
The day’s second speaker was Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. Just process that for a minute… (OK I’m a little star-struck ha ha!)
From the moment he stepped onto the stage, the Archbishop received a rousing and very warm welcome from the conference. His speech was a real call to all churches to seek to grow, to seek to further God’s Kingdom on earth. In an age of increasing secularisation and apathy, Archbishop Welby made clear his belief that the ice is thawing, that our faith is the only absolute and the only thing that can truly be depended on in an increasingly turbulent world.
Our church, like many at the conference isn’t an Anglican one. Justin Welby isn’t technically our boss. But I believe that he is a great uniter, a man reaching across denominational boundaries to call everyone to walk in the same direction. A truly remarkable and humble man and certainly someone called for such a time as this.
Mark Batterson spoke at two sessions yesterday with further words of encouragement and inspiration for those of us seeking to plant and grow churches. It’s a subject close to my own heart and so I have gained tremendously from his teaching at the conference. I think I owe him the purchase of at least one book!
Mark spoke particularly on the fact that success is not an overnight thing but for him has been rooted in the prayers of years before. His testimony of the way that NCC has grown from a tiny plant to an amazing, multi-campus church in Washington DC and wider afield was an inspiration. He has certainly breathed new life into my own hopes for the planting and growing of churches.
As ever, the conference worship team led us skilfully in raising our voices to the Lord. They are doing a superb job in responding to movement of the Holy Spirit and guiding our hearts and prayers.
It’s clear to feel God’s spirit at work in the auditorium. Seeing and feeling the way that the Spirit has ministered to people, refreshing visions or giving birth to new ones has, for me, been little short of life-changing. Hyperbole indeed but in this case, well justified.
I don’t honestly know how I’m going to process and put into action all that I’ve learned – that’s where good mentoring and help from the New Wine network will come in – but I do know that I’m so excited to see what the last day of the conference will bring.
And then, by God’s grace, to see where that will lead to for me, our church, our town and this nation.