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Leaders’ Conference Preview

Ticket? Check. Accommodation? Check. Travel? Check. Weather? Well, no guarantees. Phil Topham looks ahead to next week’s Leaders’ Conference by outlining some new seminars and some of the great resources that will be available.

Leaders’ Conference Preview primary image

We’re absolutely delighted that more than 800 people will gather with us for our annual Leaders’ Conference next week. For our first ever trip to Torquay, we’re looking forward to ministry from Thabiti Anyabwile in our plenary sessions as we think about the main theme of Transforming Church.

Since we advertised the conference for the first time back in January, we have been working hard to sort out all the practical details – as well as organising some new seminars.

I thought it would be good to outline these additional sessions so you can consider which ones to attend. And if you’re not coming to the Conference there are still plenty of resources you will be able to access.

Leading the Local Church through Change & Growth

In our final email to conference attendees earlier in the week, we were sad to report that family circumstances will prevent Matt Schmucker from joining us in Torquay. His seminars will now be delivered by Mark Lawrence who is planning a two-part series on church growth under the titles:

  • Leading a Culture of Change
  • Nurturing a Culture of Evangelism

Drawing on his experience as Pastor at Christ Church Dunstable, Mark will first explain how he began to reorient church culture, leading the congregation from being inward looking to becoming outward looking. His first seminar will explore what has to go on “behind the scenes” to lead this change and move the church forward.

In his second seminar, Mark will consider how churches can put evangelism at the forefront of everything they do. He will explore how leading the church into growth involves embedding a culture of evangelism in all her activities – seven days a week.

Please do remember Mark in your prayers as he steps in at the last minute to conduct these seminars.

The Next Level

Training Director Adrian Reynolds will lead a Q&A discussion on Tuesday afternoon with three pastors who lead churches of different sizes in different geographical locations.

Adrian will be joined by Church Leadership Consultant (and Pastor of Grace Community Church Bedford) Ray Evans, Tom Fenning from Beccles Baptist Church, Suffolk and Michael Teutsch from Highfields Church, Cardiff.

Together they will talk about what it looks like for a church to move up to the next level. They will consider questions like: how do you plan for growth? What do churches of different sizes in different geographical locations need to think about when they prepare for change?

This will be an interactive discussion, taking questions from the floor which Adrian will pitch to the panel. If you’re attending the Conference, please text your questions to 07860 085846 or use the hashtag #TheNextLevel on Twitter.

Meanwhile the 10ofThose bookstall will be offering Adrian’s new book Progress for £2 each or five copies for £5.

Creating Capacity for Change

At the start of November, FIEC Practical Services welcomed a brand new member of staff. Caroline Eade is a charity law expert who was previously a partner in a law firm. We’re delighted that she is offering a seminar on church governance at this year’s conference.

Caroline will help you to consider the kinds of organisational structures which make it easier to support growth or change in your church. In what ways might you need to adapt those structures to enable a church plant, or to manage an expanding staff and volunteer team? What pitfalls will hinder effective decision-making as you embark on new projects?

Governance challenges always arise when churches go through change. This seminar will help you think about important issues such as trusteeship, delegation and accountability, as well as some of the underlying constitutional issues that make change harder – or easier – to navigate.

Investing in the Ministry of Music

It’s great to have Colin Webster – one of the ministers at Cornerstone Church in Nottingham with us in Torquay. Colin is an experienced worship leader and is passionate about helping leaders to better understand and resource music ministry in our churches.

In his seminar he will explore how this word-based ministry can it be better valued and resourced so that it helps churches to exalt God and encourage one another in faith. It will look at some of the theological benefits of our sung worship before touching on some of the struggles that leaders face in planning services, choosing songs or developing and encouraging a worship team.

New Resources

We’re also delighted to be able to make some new resources available at the Conference.

The latest issue of Primer will be launched on Monday and will be available on the 10ofThose bookstall. They are offering it for £5 per copy or five copies for £22.

We have a book written by John Stevens called Knowing Our Times which will be handed to everyone free of charge on the Monday evening. It is a cultural commentary adapted from a paper presented at the Affinity Theological Study Conference in March and further copies are available from the FIEC Information Desk for £1 each.

We’re also excited to show you two brand new Get to Know… films. These will be a Conference exclusive before we publish them on our website in the New Year.

The Leaders’ Conference Handbook will be available as an electronic PDF to delegates from this coming Friday.

Not Joining Us in Torquay?

If you won’t be with us next week, there are still a number of conference resources you can make use of in your churches. All the main talks and seminars will be available on the FIEC website in the run up to Christmas.

Please also keep the Conference in your prayers and don’t forget – you can follow the Conference on Twitter using the hashtag #FIECLC.

Phil Topham photo
Phil Topham - FIEC Head of Communication

Phil looks after FIEC's internal and external communication. He is married to Kath and they live near Market Harborough and attend Christ Church in the town.