Local Conferences 2020: The Power for a Good Example
This year’s Local Conferences for pastors and leaders are now underway. So what can you expect from these days together?
Remember, consider, and imitate were the three watchwords from the opening address at this year’s FIEC Local Conference (formerly Pastors’ Network Day Conference) at Trinity Church in Sunderland. It was the fourth of 32 such days planned in 2020 which, following our National Leaders’ Conference in November, are focused on the subject of ‘Leadership and Legacy’.
Raising New Leaders and Living Out Godly Leadership
The day was led by Johnny Prime (Associate National Director) who spoke from Hebrews 13:7-8. He began by asking those gathered to remember those good leaders who first spoke the word of God to them, to consider the outcome of their way of life, and to imitate them by putting into practice the good leadership they modelled.
It was a timely reminder that if godly leadership is to be passed on and taught in our churches it first needs to be lived out.
A Ray Evans video on the need to raise up new leaders was shown. This was followed by group discussions on how to identify new leaders, how to train them well, and how to empower them.
Abuse and Pastoral Malpractice
In the afternoon these encouraging practical sessions gave way to the more uncomfortable subject of bad church leadership - and in particular issues of abuse and pastoral malpractice. In a video, recorded in early January, John Stevens outlined the particular distinctives of abuse and pastoral malpractice and the damage that it can cause to individuals, churches and the gospel.
It was a sobering, but timely, reminder that ministry leadership has, if misused, great potential to do harm. Helpfully the video gave some very practical examples of where leaders can be tempted, sometimes unwittingly, to exercise power in ways that can be damaging to those around them.
The need for vigilance, accountability, and the courage to call out such behaviour was strongly emphasised if our churches are to be safe places of care and nurture for everyone in them.
Inevitably some recent high-profile examples of such malpractice would have weighed on people's minds as they considered this subject. So, it was good to be reminded that while we must never shy away from challenging such sin, the gospel offers forgiveness for the sinner even as it provides healing for the sinned-against.
The Perfect Leader
Encouragingly the day did include examples of good leadership in action as we heard from various local church leaders about ministry initiatives and gospel work around the North East of England. These examples, often involving tears, patience and hard work, were positive reminders that godly and sacrificial leadership abounds in our churches – and is the means through which God is blessing countless lives throughout Britain.
The final session of the day pointed us back to the Lord Jesus the “great shepherd of the sheep” (Hebrews 13:20-21). He is the perfect leader who is able to equip every under-shepherd with every spiritual resource needed to lead well.
It meant that we left knowing that, whatever our human failings, we have in Christ not just the power of a good example - but the power for
a good example.
Although designed for FIEC church leaders and Pastors’ Network members, please do invite other church leaders who would share the gospel heart of FIEC to come with you. Pastors’ wives are welcome to book alongside their husbands too.
Attendance is free of charge, including lunch and refreshments. You can give an optional £10 donation when booking to help us cover costs.