Are you ready?
It was a great joy to welcome more than 100 people to The Hub in January – our annual conference for those on their journey into ministry or exploring the call. Dale & Kate Fahey came along and we asked Kate to share their reflections on the weekend.
As I contemplate our experience at The Hub in 2018 one question comes to mind. It’s the words of Jesus at the end of John’s Gospel: “Do you love me?... Do you love me?... Do you love me?”
How often do we think about that question? Sure, we talk about God’s abounding love for us and his unwavering grace, mercy and sovereignty in our lives but how often do we ask ourselves – do I really love Jesus? Because if we do there is absolutely no doubt that our lives should reflect that!
FIEC Training Director Adrian Reynolds brought God’s word to us on both Friday night and Saturday morning. He spoke on holiness and this was beautifully rounded off by Sam Buckley’s (Pastor of Christ Church Hemel) Sunday sermon on Psalm 139.
For me, the weekend has brought out more conviction, questions and action points than I was probably hoping for.
My husband Dale and I attended The Hub last year with no clear idea of where the Lord was leading us in regards to ministry. Dale was exploring his ability to teach God’s word and I was busy organising our second women’s conference.
This year we came with Dale having started his first of two years with the Midlands Gospel Partnership in Nottingham taking a day-release from work. A future in full-time ministry is a very real possibility. So, are we ready? Quite frankly, the answer is no!
In his sermons, Adrian Reynolds said that: “Christian life and ministry is characterised by progress”. To think that once Dale has completed his training we’ve arrived and we’re ready for a life in full-time service would be false. That’s because our sanctification will never be complete this side of heaven and our growth therefore should be deliberate and intentional. This not only ensures our own development in godliness and gifting but also those to whom we minister to.
Adrian spoke from 1 Timothy 4:13-16:
“Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given to you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
Our approach to ministry should be one of humility, in appreciation of the fact that we are simply broken people ministering to broken people, in the strength and wisdom of our Lord.
In the question and answer section on Saturday night recently-retired FIEC Pastoral Ministries Director Richard Underwood recalled how he used to think he was going into ministry to fix other people but what really happened was that God used other people to fix him! What a boldly honest and humble reflection. We aren’t going to save the world but you can be sure God’s word can and in faithfulness he’ll fix you too!
Counting the Cost
Dale and I attended separate seminars on Sunday in an attempt to divide and conquer, sharing notes later on.
I attended ‘One-to-One Pastoral Ministry’ with Johnny and Sandra Prime (Johnny is the new FIEC Pastoral Ministries Director), whilst Dale attended ‘Growing in Gifting’ with Jon and Aileen Gemmell (Jon serves with the Proclamation Trust).
Both of these seminars reiterated the need to be intentional when it comes to both our love for others and growing our gifts. They also highlighted that there’s no need to wait. We can minister to those around us right now, knowing that God’s word is powerful and it changes lives and it’s for people of all different backgrounds, ages and nationalities!
So we were encouraged to open the Bible with someone; make the effort; love people; love them completely and unconditionally, just as our Lord has done for us. Serve, serve and serve again, finding joy in it because Jesus came, died and rose again so you could serve in this great commission. Which leads me to my final point.
The power of networking
Attending The Hub has taught me many things but one of the greatest privileges of the weekend is the time to network. You not only get the opportunity to network with so many people on different paths to different ministries but you also have ample time available to go and network with as many mentors as you can get your hands on over the two days.
Whether it is to share best practice, have your hearts refreshed or to gain a wider perspective on God’s work in our nation, networking is a vital part of full time ministry. Praying, reading God’s word and fellowshipping with other like-minded believers will be a lifeline as we respond to God’s higher calling on our lives to be holy, grow in gifting and see soul’s saved for His glory.
Our experience at The Hub has been priceless and I am so thankful to all the people I spoke with over the weekend and for all those that are involved in the organisation of such a fruitful event. We’ll be back!
The Hub Conference 2019 will take place from 11-13 January. Look out for details later in the year.