Notes from John Stevens’ presentation at the FIEC AGM – Looking Back and Looking Ahead.
1. Isaiah 12:4-6 reminds us that we are to give thanks to God for what He has done, that our task is to proclaim His Name and make Him known, and gives us the confidence that He is the great God who is committed to His people.
2. Emerging from COVID, some FIEC churches have seen conversions and growth with new people joining them, but there have been some closures among small churches who in shutting have chosen to strengthen other churches and use their resources for the gospel in other ways. Many churches are reporting exhaustion among the leaders and members especially as they seek to put ministry teams back together. An encouragement is that there are churches wanting to join FIEC who see the benefit of being part of the fellowship. The 2021 Leaders’ Conferences saw 950 leaders gather across 5 locations.
3. Staff structure of FIEC has changed slightly with Adrian Reynolds now serving as Head of National Ministries (overseeing the work of FIEC that serves all the churches across the country such as training, mission, women’s ministry team, leadership consultancy, smaller churches co-ordination, and Leaders’ Conference) and Johnny Prime now serving as Head of Local Ministries (overseeing work of FIEC that affects churches on individual church level such as overseeing local directors (London & Scotland), Pastor’s Network, pastoral support team, and Local Conferences).
4. FIEC will be responding corporately to the Conversion Therapy Consultation.
5. In seeking to support smaller churches (defined as less than 35 members, but with congregations up to 80-90) Jonathan Bond has been appointed to be Director for Smaller Churches.
6. There is a new FIEC podcast – In:Dependence – which builds on the Leadership in Lockdown webinars but not through a fixed weekly event. Weekly 30 minute episodes will be released covering issues relevant to Independent Churches with people from different FIEC churches involved. It will be like an FIEC Leaders’ Conference seminar on a weekly basis in podcast form.
7. 33 Local Conferences are taking place between January and June for church leaders (not just for pastors).
8. With the vision of FIEC being to reaching the nation with the good news of the Lord Jesus, work will be done towards a strategy for supporting local church mission, seeking to best build on what Andy Paterson who will be retiring from FIEC in November next year has done.
9. 2022 will be FIEC’s 100th Anniversary, and an opportunity to give thanks but also to remind ourselves of our core convictions as Independent Churches. The founding vision of FIEC is just as contemporary and relevant. Included in this will be a Residential Leaders’ Conference (sadly not in Torquay but likely Blackpool), a special project – ‘100 Gospel Projects’ to encourage churches to collectively pray and support ways in which FIEC churches are seeking to advance the gospel; and distribution of resources toward some of these from the Mission Fund.