Saturday, November 27, 2010

AoG Regional Day

I very much enjoyed conducting two days of leadership meetings with around eighty leaders from our sister fellowship the Assemblies of God. The venue was Exeter and the meetings were convened by Regional leader for the area, Tim Robertson.

There was a great atmosphere right from the start and there was a wide spectrum of leaders ranging from those who are emerging in pastoral roles through to those who have given many years of exceptional service within their denomination.

There was a fantastic buzz in all the meetings that auger very well for the future and I would want to thank them for the warm and honouring way that I was received during my two days with them.

Elim Bethnal Green

Always love being at Elim Bethnal Green, London with senior pastor Richard Jama and his wife Toyin. This is a lively and enthusiastic church at the heart of the capital.

The service featured the church's excellent choir and following the service I enjoyed time with the wider leadership of the church over a meal. If you live in the Bethnal Green area this would be a great church to make your spiritual home.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Burton on Trent

Robert and Julie Styles have done a phenomenal job since coming to Burton on Trent eleven years ago.

One of Rob's passions during his time there has been to network with other churches in the town and to ensure that the Elim church serves the community in every way that it can. He, and the tremendous leadership team he has around him, have fulfilled this objective with distinction.

The church itself has been modified to accommodate the growing congregation by the addition of two galleries but the building (pictured above) that I was present to participate in the opening of was on the opposite side of the road and aptly named 'The Corner'.

This facility, built to a very high standard, and for the use of the church and the community is one of the nominations for 'Best new buildings in Burton'.

Two church members who had been there since the church was opened fifty years ago cut the ribbon and present for the service was the Member of Parliament for the area, Andrew Griffiths who is pictured on the centre front row between Rob Styles and myself.

The Burton Story will feature more fully in a future edition of Direction.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Chelmsford Elim

On the previous occasion that I spoke at Chelmsford Elim the morning service was packed to capacity. On this visit I was invited to bring the same message to two morning services that took place at 9:15 am and 11:15 am to accommodate the ever growing congregation.

Mike and Elizabeth Sherwood have been among our closest friends for over forty years. I first met them when we were Bible college students in 1968. Mike has served as a Regional leader in the past as well as serving for many years on the National Leadership Team. He is one of our Movement's most gifted leaders.

Our visit coincided with the announcement of courageous extension plans which that week were being presented to the congregation for acceptance.

After the second meeting of the morning Marilyn and I enjoyed lunch with the entire pastoral team and their spouses before returning home. It had been a great day with a great church.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Summit Confrence

The Summit Conference held in the phenomenal Conference Centre in Telford will be reported on in depth in other parts of the magazine but had to feature on this page given that it was two of the best days I have experienced in the past twelve months.

Five hundred of our leaders assembled to hear speaks such as Malcolm Duncan, Mark Green, Mile Pillavachi among others. Elim Sound led the worship and made a great contribution to the Conference. My special thanks to the organisers of the event Nigel Tween, Mark Pugh, Gary Gibbs and Chris Jones.

The Bridge

The Bridge is the name given to a group of around thirty people who I invite to our International Centre in Malvern on two occasions during the year. Although most are from our larger churches in the cities the group constitutes a cross-section of our Movement in terms of ethnicity and gender and there are people present from rural areas as well as towns. The 32 who gathered on the first of these meetings represent a congregations totalling over 17,000 of the 67,000 Elim people in the UK.

The purpose of the group is to form a connection between the work that the NLT and myself are doing and what is being accomplished in the most important part of our Movement - the local church. It was great to interact with the high quality of leaders that are typical of the those who lead our churches across the country.

Cape Town, South Africa

Forty years ago Billy Graham convened a conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, to address the issue of Global Evangelism. Twenty years later a second conference was held for the same reason in Manilla.

Lausanne III took place in Cape Town, South Africa and I was invited as one of the participants. The buget for the eight days was £6 million - half of which was dedicated to providing bursaries so that people in economically challenged parts of the world could attend.

Four thousand people gathered from one hundred and ninety countries and the whole proceeding was translated into 28 languages via the booths of the interpreters and the headphones of the delegates.

Among the most moving moments of the congress was the opening night where we learned that, at the last minute, the Chinese government had refused the Chinese delegation visas while putting them all under house arrest - emphasising the continued persecution of the Church under Communism. Despite the harassment of the government the church continues to explode with many millions of Christians coming to faith in Christ in recent years.

As an act of solidarity with our brothers and sisters in China, all 4000 delegates stepped away from their chairs at a signal from the platform to send out the message, "There is a place for you at this conference even though you have been denied the opportunity to take it."

During the same service a teenage girl from north Korea told how her family had become Christians in one of the most closed and brutal nations in the world. Her father had 'disappeared' but she was going to return to the country to reach people for Christ even though it would mean almost certain martyrdom.

Much of the worship was Pentecostal in style though on the last evening a communion service was led by the Anglican Archbishop of Uganda.

Every possible means of communication imaginable was used during the week including - preaching, drama, mime, dance (traditional and contemporary) music and state-of-the-art computer graphics.

Despite increased persecution around the world, the Church is unstoppable

Kensington Temple

Kensington Temple, London, is Elim's largest church and under the leadership of senior minister Colin Dye continues to grow in numbers and depth. Over the years it has spawned a network of congregations around the capital which are designated 'London City Church'. I always look forward to the time in year when I spend an evening with all the highly committed and motivated leaders from KT.