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In Dependence

Last week saw around 470 people gather together for our 2014 Leaders’ Conference. It was a great time together – but of course we’d say that! So we asked one of the delegates, Jonny Raine, to share his highlights of the conference.

In Dependence primary image

This year was the third time I’ve been to the FIEC Leaders’ Conference. I returned home exhausted – shattered even – but also felt inspired and challenged, enthused and spurred-on. Here, in no particular order, are my four main reasons why:

1. Conversations

This for me was one of the main highlights. There were several hundred other gospel workers at the conference and there was a genuine sense of affection for one another as we mingled and chatted.

chatting at Leaders' Conference

So as we bumped into each other over coffee or food, meeting old friends and making new ones, we shared our encouragements and trials. I got to hear so much of what God is doing in other places as well as learning from others.

2. Sung Worship

It was a real privilege to join my voice with those hundreds of others in praise to God in our main sessions. The band were excellent and we sang some excellent songs; some really old, some modern, some brand new.

singing at Leaders' Conference

One song that I particularly enjoyed was the song, ‘Your Great Love’ by Colin Webster from Cornerstone, Nottingham. We picked it up very quickly and the tune helpfully got caught in my head so that I was singing it all day!

3. Preaching & Teaching

The main meetings were brilliant. Four of the FIEC directors shared about different aspects of our “dependence”, and three other speakers (Steve Levy, Tope Koleoso and Martin Salter) taught from some of the “I am” statements of Jesus. All seven of them were so stirring and poignant.

Trevor Archer speaking at the conference

Personally, one thing that I was particularly challenged by was the need to take care of myself; to “feed on Christ”, before seeking to care for and feed others. There were also plenty of encouragements to persevere in the work and a few other specific applications to weigh-up.

Then there were the seminar options. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, we had a choice of four different seminars (12 in total). The ones I went to were particularly helpful on thinking through church leadership. Tope’s teaching on ‘Leading a Praying Church’ was particularly inspiring as he explained his approach with the Newfrontiers church that he pastors in London.

Tope Koleoso

I hear the other seminars were good and audio, along with videos for the main sessions, should be accessible on the FIEC website before long.

4. Vision

In the main sessions and as part of the AGM we got to hear lots of things about how FIEC is growing and helping churches to move out with the gospel. We heard of new church plants that have happened and of one planned for central London in 2015 (find them on Twitter @theglobechurch). There are also plenty of new plans afoot for equipping those considering church planting.

Being a pastor of a church in Wales, I also had an opportunity to meet up with other church leaders from Wales. We discussed the current situation, both generally and of the FIEC in Wales particularly. Then we had a time of sharing for what we would like to see happen and for the way forward in our own area. Similar meet-ups happened for other parts of the UK and around other topics too.

people chatting at the conference

So, if you missed it, you really did miss out. It was a truly great time.

The Leaders’ Conference reminds you of the wider family you’re a part of and the progress being made together in the gospel. It spurs you on to keep going in the hard work of making Jesus known to the part of the world you’re in. It encourages you with the great truths of the good news we ourselves have received.

the bookstall at the conference

Thankfully this is an annual conference – so make sure you’re there next year! (2nd-5th November 2015) And keep on praying for the gospel work we’re involved in together as a family of churches.

Below are a few Tweets from the conference. You can read more with the hashtag #FIECLC.

The talks from the conference are available to watch or listen to.

Jonny Raine photo
Jonny Raine

Jonny is pastor of Pontrhydyrun Baptist Church in Cwmbran, South Wales. He is married to Caz and they have four daughters. In his spare time he likes to collect hobbies, including surfing, photography and reading.

Follow Jonny Raine on Twitter – @RevJonnyRaine