Lessons Learnt at The Hub
Last weekend was our annual conference to help those on their journey into ministry. Mark Herbert returned to the conference for his second year. Find out what the weekend meant for him.
Over recent years, I have been increasingly struck by the New Testament’s emphasis on the need for godly character. So often in the world it seems that a person’s abilities are what are most celebrated, but this can be to the detriment of character. That can subsequently lead to shallow and selfish leadership.
As I reflect on the individuals who have had the biggest impact on my growth and development thus far, the common denominator has been their character and not how gifted they are. There is something so real and robust about a man or woman who has been so clearly shaped by God that you just long to learn from them and serve alongside them. I was reminded of this yet again at The Hub Conference.
The Hub exists to encourage and equip people who are considering the possibility of full-time ministry or are already in theological training. For this year’s conference about 160 men and women – plus a large team of helpers – gathered near Milton Keynes for a weekend of teaching, practical seminars and time together. Having been last year and finding it a real help and encouragement, I returned for a second year.
Reflecting on the weekend, there are three things I particularly want to remember:
Firstly, that pastoral ministry is a battle! I think I have always had a certain degree of awareness of this but the longer I am involved in ministry, the more I understand the reality of it. As we reflected on 1 Timothy 4 together, we saw that Paul does not mess about in the warnings he gives. Opposition is to be expected but, perhaps counter-intuitively, Paul’s solution is to focus on growing in godliness so that we may be a faithful example to others. Character is the bottom line! I am a young man with tons of energy and I am always temped to “do”; The Hub helped to slow me down and concentrate on “being”.
The second big take away from our time together was the need to fully rely on God in the heat of the battle. I was struck when Mike Tindall, the main speaker for the weekend, quoted an author who had said “the Devil trembles when we pray.” It’s such a great point that I even wrote it down! I believe it’s true. But how much does this truth actually shape my life and ministry?
Character matters. Relying on God through prayer matters. Finally, not going it alone matters. It was so encouraging to hear that there are now 514 FIEC churches that are united around the Gospel and have a longing to see Britain reached with the greatest news in the world! As the weekend went on and we sat together to learn, laugh and pray, in many ways we were just a group of ordinary, unimpressive and inexperienced young men and women. Yet we were united around a great Gospel which has power to change the world. We were challenged on the second night of the conference to “think much of your privilege” and serving the Lord in the way that he has called us is certainly that.
FIEC is doing a great job in resourcing, encouraging and sending out young pastors into God’s mission field. As his Spirit works in us, we can be confident to grow up in him, depend on him and work together for him. What a privilege!
Please pray for all of those who attended The Hub Conference, that they would get the advice and training they need to be equipped for serving the Lord in the years ahead. Pray also that God would raise up many more gospel workers from our family of churches.
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