Here are 41 things I noted down from the FIEC Leaders’ Conference this year.
1. The Holy Spirit gives power to bear witness, to keep on bearing witness (in the face of opposition), to all people.
2. “Parochialism is always the enemy of the gospel and unchecked we will naturally be parochial” (Wesley). This raises questions about whether our churches reflect the community they are in.
3. The mission of Jesus will be accomplished not because of our hard work, but because of the power of the Holy Spirit. This should give us a humble and a realistic confidence.
4. It is often only when we come to the end of ourselves, overwhelmed, and defeated, that we truly begin to truly rely on the Lord.
5. Pain and disappointment either makes us bitter or better.
6. A broken man is prepared for a valuable ministry because he has been crushed by God’s magnificent holiness and cleaned up by God’s magnificent grace.
7. The quality of your ministry will not be assessed by how many converts you’ve seen.
8. Faithfulness to God means saying hard things, hopefully with tears, and if people won’t accept them it is because the truth blinds them.
10. There is not a better seller of Christian books than Jonathan Carswell.
11. You can’t talk to people about Jesus if you are not talking to people.
12. Evangelism includes inviting people to church – where else will you meet Jesus? [Pushing back against those who say don’t invite people to church because it’s too alien to them].
13. Continual competition between churches is consumer Christianity.
14. You want people so excited about what they heard about Christ that they talk about Him.
15. Use the Bible. Use prayer. Use the church. Evangelism can’t be done without these.
16. No human form or power or condition can prevail against God and His Word.
17. Our hope is not in revival but in God.
18. Do you feel weak or crushed? You are in a good place because God gives strength to the weak and the broken.
19. Press on because we have an incomparable and dependable God.
20. A good name for the prayer meeting of the church is the beggars meeting.
21. Not to seek the Lord in prayer is an expression of arrogance and pride.
22. Prayer is like plasticine. It is moulded by something. It is to be moulded by God’s Word.
23. “When we depend upon organizations, we get what organizations can do; when we depend upon education, we get what education can do; when we depend upon man, we get what man can do; but when we depend upon prayer, we get what God can do.” (A. C. Dixon)
24. The evangelical church in the UK is tiny (2-3%). The Bible-centred evangelical church is tinier (0.2-0.4%).
25. FIEC wants to put particular focus on the least reached areas of the UK. Three key areas they want to support, advance, and encourage gospel work in are 1) deprived communities, 2) rural areas, and 3) ethnic minority communities.
26. What we need to have is a long obedience in the same direction.
27. Local churches need to think about how to work together at a local level, regional level, national level, and an international level.
28. FIEC and Co-Mission have put together a video for Christmas called Lift up your eyes. One to check out.
29. For every look at the culture take 10 looks at Christ.
30. Asking people to believe in Jesus is meaningless if they don’t know who Jesus is.
31. People expect us to be weird and unreasonable.
32. Stop seeing threats as threats. See them as opportunities.
33. I must start listening to The Wee Flea Podcast.
34. Enjoyed chatting about how a local church can have a focus on and get involved in world mission with Steve Palframan. His article on the FIEC website about Radstock is worth a read.
35. The new Primer is out. I picked up copies for all the elders at Banstead Community Church.
36. I wish there were more hymns and more familiar songs sung in the times of praise.
37. What makes pastors press on? Only a rock solid confidence in the sovereign hand of God over, in and through your ministry.
38. Disappointments are not signs that God has lost the plot. They’re signs that we do not have the plot.
39. If you walk by sight you see sin city, sin country, very lost people and giants in the land. If you walk by faith what opportunities there are, what fruit to harvest, what gospel potential.
40. It takes a long time to find the many people in the city. So preach and pray, love and stay as Dever would put it.
41. Going to this conference with Kate is great. We’ll be back again in 2019 with Mark Dever and Colin Smith speaking.