Here are 43 things I noted down from the FIEC Leaders’ Conference this year.
1. It was the best FIEC Leaders’ Conference I’ve been to – came away challenged, encouragement, enthused.
2. Grateful for the precious couple of hours Kate and I got to spend with Ian and Rachel Williamson.
3. Church ministry can bring feeling of doubt (have I done the right thing?), guilt (could I have done more?), and nostalgia (to when it was better).
4. If we want to glorify God, we will work to grow His church, because it is through His church He glorifies Himself.
5. If we minister for our identity, the burden of ministry will become intolerable for us. We minister from our identity.
6. The word officer gifts that Christ gives to the church are about growth numerically (evangelists) and growth in maturity and understanding (pastor-teachers).
7. We won’t want others to serve if we have made ministry our identity because we will want people to be dependent on us.
8. They nailed it with the music this year. Right balance of old hymns and new songs. Plus, the choices of songs/hymns after the messages was on point every time. [Still pondering whether Amazing Grace is a hymn that needed new lyrics added to it and to be sung to a different tune! Update: Check out this useful thread from Colin Webster about the reworking]
9. A profile of a leader from Deuteronomy 17:14-20: The leader must walk with God; love God’s people; exercise faith; be loyal; not be greedy; be immersed in Scripture; and model obedience.
10. Look for leaders by looking for men committed to the local church and who have proved themselves in the local church.
11. Your calling is to be the world’s expert on your wife!
12. God’s people put a crown on the king and sent him out to the study to learn how to lead by the Word of God being drip fed into his life.
13. To fear the Lord is to so love Him that His frown be your greatest dread and His smile your greatest delight.
14. 3 strategies for making progress: 1) Identify your primary battles; 2) Confront your hidden sins; 3) Trust your gracious Saviour.
15. Don’t let admitting you are a sinner become a substitute for confessing your sins – particularise your sins!
16. The best way of moving forward in the way of Christ is by feeding on the work of Christ.
17. You can fake your relationship with the Lord, but you mustn’t!
18. Brilliant to see previous trainee pastors from Banstead Community Church, guys I’ve met at The Hub Conference, and have my yearly catch up with Wellsy who I was at Bible College with 14 years ago.
19. The role of shepherd wraps together the three distinct offices of prophet, priest, and king. Shepherds feed the sheep nourishing the flock of God with a healthy diet. Shepherds seek the sheep, those weak and injured. Shepherds guard the sheep, protecting and leading the flock of God.
20. It is helpful to spend a third of your time in each area of the threefold ministry of preaching, pastoring, and leading; of preaching/study; 1-2-1 work; and structure/teams/committee. Each of these components are essential.
21. The word of God is more than information. It is the living seed that brings new life and the food that sustains new life. Word of God is the means by which God accomplishes His work in people’s lives.
22. Preaching is more than education. JI Packer: “The proper aim of preaching is to mediate meetings with God.”
23. A Christian sermon is one that has something so distinctly about Jesus Christ that you would be thrown out of the mosque or synagogue for preaching it.
24. Cut pastoral work out and you will kill your preaching. You’ll become a talking head removed from the realities of the lives of the people you preach to.
25. Charles Bridges definition of pastoral work as the personal application of the pulpit ministry to the proper individualities of our people.
26. The local church is where the kingdom is established, displayed and grown.
27. Care about the ministry of the gospel beyond my generation and beyond my geography until Christ returns.
28. You say stupid things and the church survives. When you do it gives the church’s spiritual antibodies a work out.
29. The optimal size of an eldership. Dever says as many elders as you can have. Why would Christ give elders to the church if they were not needed?
30. “You can get it in the bookshop and it is really cheap!” Classic Jonathan Carswell.
31. Interviews at conferences never seem to deliver what I’d hope they would.
32. Spurgeon is unable to write an unedifying paragraph.
33. Unbelief does not bear up well under careful examination.
34. We need emotional intelligence but also organisational intelligence.
35. Four reasons to lose heart from 2 Corinthians 4: 1) False teachers; 2) Our own sin; 3) Unbeliever’s blindness; 4) Suffering.
36. When a leader loses heart the stakes are high.
37. The day you stop marvelling at the mercy of God is the day you stop offering the mercy of God.
38. Longevity in ministry comes from an appreciation of God’s mercy.
39. Never stop telling your own salvation story. If He can save you, He can save others. Keep proclaiming Christ as Lord.
40. Preaching with a view is photoshop fantasy.
41. God puts nobodies in church ministry to show His power.
42. Ministry is dying to save others’ lives. Not in an atoning way. But in an announcement, embodiment, of the atoning way.
43. We do not lose heart in ministry because our end game is not retirement but resurrection.