Day two of Movement began with a choice of three seminars.
Matt Davis' seminar was rather ambitiously entitled “How to Change the World From Your Desk” and, after a few introductory words from its host, largely consisted of Q&A. The panel of 8 men spanned a range of professions from small business owners, through public sector workers to corporation leaders and the questions were equally diverse. Police brutality, tax avoidance, deception, costs, profits and sharing the Gospel were all touched on and the answerers spoke candidly from their experience and conviction.
“Is Church Planting for Me?” was the question that Neville Jones grappled with and it seemed that many others were doing the same as the seminar had an encouragingly healthy attendance. With a particular focus on European church planting, its challenges and importance, during the hour and a half the group looked at characteristics of a successful church planter. Providing helpful input were church planters Donnie Griggs from USA, Simon Murphy from Singapore (though originally South Africa) and our very own soon to be church planter Matt Simmonds. One man I spoke to after the seminar explained that the thing he took away was how far off he is from being a church planter right now! He seemed encouraged none-the-less, as he added that the role of being a team member is crucial too.
Matt Hosier, who leads Gateway Church in Poole, led the seminar, “Building Healthy Families”. This, similarly, a very practical session, with a good time of Q&A in the second half, but also included a focussed look on the primacy of the church family over and above the biological family. God's family supersedes our own and it is important that we don't idolise the biological family, but honour it in the right way. One of the beauties of God's family, the Church, is that it is a place where everyone belongs and everyone has a part to play. Zechariah 8:1-8 outlines what God's everlasting and perfect family will look like and as family builders in the here and now it is important to keep this perspective in mind.
The first main session of the day commenced after a short break and featured an interview with PJ Smyth, again through a video call. The South African spoke with characteristic directness about the realities of “war-time living”. Whether we're in the throws of church building or planting or doing battle in the work place we're called to stand and fight for God. We need to be skilled at both attack and defence in spiritual warfare. Having an eternal perspective on hell (as well as heaven) and not shirking the call to personal evangelism are also key features of a life of faithful perseverance.
Jon Bateman then led us in another superb extended time of worship, before we sat down for another skype interview. Unlike with PJ, the face now on the big screens was an unfamiliar one to almost all of us as Joel spoke to Magnus Perrson from Sweden. Magnus leads the United Global network of churches and had many insightful and challenging things to say. Having been involved in youth ministry on a huge scale in his native country shortly after becoming a Christian at 18, he then took a radical step to close down the organisation that he was leading and throw himself completely into church planting. He outlined his very direct, purposefully simple, mission-focussed approach to establishing local churches, and when you consider the radical secularism that exists in places like Scandinavia, his testimony of what God had done inspired faith and hope around the room.
In the main session after lunch Matt Hosier addressed us from Romans 8 and 1 Peter 1 about the centrality and importance of the Holy Spirit in all that we are called to as men. How can we be distinct and set apart for God, whilst still engage with the culture and people that we live next to in our city? The answer is, by the Spirit. It is the Spirit that both brings holiness and purity and empowers us to say no to sin, yet also gives us the boldness and courage to speak and live for Christ in our largely secular city.
In the final session of Movement 2013, Joel Virgo preached to us from the story of David's fall with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11&12). David's tragic sin stemmed from him being, “Bored of Greatness”, said Joel, who went on to warn us of the danger of disappointment, battle-weariness and neglecting to be ambitious. In a commissioning message, Joel reminded us to be content in God, but to not let that lead to a lack of ambition. God says to David, in 2 Samuel 12:8 that even in all his abundance, if he had only asked for it God would have gladly given him much, much more. What a provocation for us. As a church called to plant sites and reach cities in Europe and beyond, let us be men who ask big things of God; who ruthlessly pursue godly ambitions and don't give up until we see God move in mighty ways. He has called us to no small thing, yet He is immeasurably greater in Himself and invites us to ask for the nations.
All the talks will be available to download from the website very soon.