It was great last week to be at the FIEC Leaders’ Conference in Hemsby. It’s always a great time, but this year it was particularly exciting to be able to share with so many others our plans for planting Spen Valley Church. People were universally encouraging, and eager to help where they can.
The theme of the Conference this year was ‘Engaging Evangelism’. It was so helpful to think through the ways in which we can, and must, reach those around us with the Good News of the Lord Jesus. From FIEC National Director John Stevens’ opening thoughts on the instructions Jesus gives His disciples for evangelism in Luke 10, right through to the outstanding final sermon from Mission Director Andy Paterson, there was much to stimulate and provoke. So much of what was said at the Conference will have a direct impact on how we go about reaching the Spen Valley with the Gospel. This was particularly true of the seminars run by Mez McConnell and the folks from 20 Schemes. We want to make disciples right across the Spen Valley, and the sessions on discipleship, diversity, and women’s ministry were all outstandingly helpful.
I personally love being part of the FIEC. There’s a real momentum and togetherness, as the churches which make up the FIEC seek to work together to reach our nation with the Gospel. It was thrilling to hear news of new churches being planted, of established churches growing, and of FIEC churches working together to do more than they can do individually. This is particularly true of the Training Fund, which has helped to fund 87 people, including myself, through theological training or their first job in ministry. I am so grateful for the opportunities that being part of the FIEC has given to me personally, as well as the church I serve. Without this help, I would never have been in a position to come to plant a church in the Spen Valley next Summer.
That’s why we hope that Spen Valley Church will be affiliated to the FIEC as soon as possible. We want to take advantage of the opportunities that being in fellowship with 500+ other independent churches, all seeking to reach our nation with the Gospel, brings. But we also want to do our bit, and link arms with others as, together, we proclaim that Jesus is the Saviour our whole nation needs.
Another exciting part of the Conference was hearing so many people say that they want to support us in any way they can. For some that might mean prayer support, for others it might mean supporting us financially, and for some it might even mean getting stuck in in the Spen Valley. While I was in Hemsby, I received an email to say that the amazingly good folks at Hope Church have created a temporary bank account for us. This means that you can now give financially to Spen Valley Church, and partner with us to see the Valley reached with the Gospel. All the details are on the ‘How can I help?’ page. Please do consider whether you can help in this way.
Ultimately, we want Spen Valley Church to become part of the story that defines the whole history of the universe. The story that, as Andy Paterson reminded those of us in Hemsby last Thursday, is all about ‘God rescuing His people, through His Son, for His glory.’ We hope, in time, to join the FIEC because it exists to serve that purpose. Could you join us as we seek to serve it too?