Monday, 15 April 2013

Spring Harvest 2013 -a few thoughts

  • I am feeling physically tired but spiritually refreshed after my second Christian conference in as many weeks.
     I wrote about the great time we had with Christian Associates here and last week I was at Spring Harvest in Minehead.
     It  was the first time we had been for well over 20 years, and much was very familiar 
    Here are some of the things I especially enjoyed:

    The morning family worship 
    This was half an hour all age worship and it was very well done.the time included prayer ,bible reading,drama,dance  and great use of technology
    The missional tone of the event.
    There was a real encouragement throughout the week for  Christians to engage with their local communities
    Spring Harvest have not led this trend but it is great to see they are reflecting it 
  • Spring Harvest is great at technology and use it as well as any conference I have ever been at; but it was used well to illustrate rather than to overwhelm
    The facilities for those with Special Needs there was signing at all the major meetings during he week ,a good area for those in wheelchairs with very helpful and well trained stewards, all in all very positive, though it would have been good to see at least one wheelchair user speak  on the main stage during the week ,so there are still  areas to work on!
    The chance to spend quality time with people from church.
    It is true it would have been good to do more of this, but that is not always easy in a conference with so much going on all the time, but we still managed to eat together, celebrate a couple of birthdays together, and have some important conversations,which all helps to build relationships. 
    The chance to meet old friends again 
    In our case Claire and Derek and their family. Claire  used to run the youth work with us in Ross many many years ago and it was amazing to see them again 
    It was also great to  bump into Tim and Marlene.We had seen them more recently, but it was good to catch up with their news
    The after hours entertainment It included Tim Vine and John Archer -need I say more !

    There were other moments I enjoyed and were helped by , and any list like this is very personal, but all in all it was a good and helpful time

Monday, 8 April 2013

Christian Associates- Summit Leadership Conference -A visitors view.

I am just back from a Christian Associates Leadership Summit at High Leigh Conference Centre website here
One always worries a bit when heading to a smallish conference where we knew very few people,and they mostly know each other fairly well but we were made very welcome and came away both encouraged and inspired by the people we met and the stories we heard.
Indeed it was also affirming to all that we are seeking to do in Shrewsbury.

My highlights included:

Seeing Dudley Callison again and meeting his wife Laura

I first met Dudley in 1989 when he came for a mission trip to Ross on Wye and Gorsley and I have no doubt he will make a highly effective leader of Christian Associates as they move forward into a new era. In my opinion he has exactly the gifts that are needed. Dudley is an excellent communicator with a wide experience of cross cultural mission and a passion to see missional churches share Jesus.Combine all that with an ability to relate to people and a strategic mind and my guess is that CA have got the right person at the right time

Another highlight was the the teaching of Kim Hammond from Forge
Kim is another great communicator who spoke with honesty, humour and knowledge on the subject of" multiplication-reproducing local leaders and churches" there were some great one liners such as" radical people inspire ordinary people to do radical things" but above all it was the wisdom he shared that was so inspiring . I only wish the talks had been recorded and it is encouraging that Forge are looking to work more in Europe in the future

It was also great to meet some wonderful people from all over the world who told encouraging,indeed amazing stories of Gods work from the person planting vegetables in Haiti to the woman sharing food and faith with prostitutes and the guys sharing faith in Russian orphanages.

We were also able to make connections, which we hope and pray will help us as we seek to partner with Christian Associates in bringing Phillip and Christina to work with us in Shrewsbury

As much as anything though we were encouraged by the healthy culture of Christian Associates which is accepting,permission giving ,creative, respective of local cultures and people, and above all passionate about Jesus

i will try hard to remember all we  were reminded of but above all 3 things :
  • Firstly, that Gods grace is prevenient. In other words God is at work in lives long before we get there and will be at work long after we have left,but we can by Gods grace be links in the chain
  • To tell more stories
  • To be even bolder and more faithful  in seeking to show and share Gods love in innovative ways to people made in His image

We hope to keep in touch with CA