A Ministry Reminder
Adrian Reynolds explains why last week’s Evangelism Conference was such an encouragement. He says that despite busy diaries, it’s certainly a date you should pencil in for 2019.
Some conferences shake you up. They give you ways of looking at things that you’ve never considered before. Other conferences offer a ministry reminder. This year’s Evangelism Conference (one day, but held twice in London and Manchester) fell into the latter category – but how I needed it!
The long running conference has become a fixture for many, however there are plenty more preachers, church workers and members who would benefit greatly from having it on their radar.
Of course, it would be possible to do nothing but attend conferences, but this topic is absolutely critical to church health. For me, the Evangelism Conference always has the potential to deliver some serious value for money.
That was certainly the case this year. Three of the main sessions were led by Rico Tice with his usual mix of enthusiasm, wisdom and plain, straightforward exhortation. I’ve heard Rico a fair bit, and you may have too. But. Boy, O boy, do I need to hear his message again and again.
With Rico, there are always pearls along the way. The reminder that we need to resist the temptation to drop any reference to wrath and repentance was particularly pertinent to today’s climate. Similarly, the encouragement to get through the pain barrier early in any evangelistic sermon was also much needed.
On this latter point, Rico gave us the ‘opening bars’ of one of his sermons where he talks about life and death decisions, showing his audience the need to be saved right up front. I suspect many of us probably save this as a kind of ‘punchline’ which comes from nowhere and rather surprises our hearers.
I also valued being urged to preach the gospel with all my heart every week because – even when there are no non-Christians – I want my congregation to think ‘I wish I had brought someone along!’
It was perhaps Rico’s insights into evangelistic preaching that I personally found most helpful. Those who caricature preaching might argue that Rico’s passion for Christ and for the text he is expounding, coupled with his call to repentance and faith is remarkably non-conformist. The truth is more profound: he is describing true gospel preaching. It ought to be found across denominations – but certainly in our family of churches.
Alongside Rico’s ministry this year, there were also seminars to help us think about how we practically seek to share our faith and discuss it with others. We were reminded that Paul argued persuasively for the truth of the gospel in Ephesus in Acts 19 and we should follow this example.
I know I don’t have Rico’s evangelistic gifts. And that’s okay. But I enjoyed learning from him and wanting to put into practice all that I heard – both in my personal evangelism and public ministry.
So, some conferences shake you up. Others helpfully remind you. Either way, the Evangelism Conference is a date worth putting in next year’s diary.
Evangelism Conference 2019 - South: Tues 8 Oct (London)
Evangelism Conference 2019 - North: Thurs 10 Oct (Manchester)