After sadly missing out last year, I was able to make it for a day visit to the newfrontiers “Together on a Mission” conference this year. As always, Adrian Warnock is doing a sterling job of live-blogging the conference. You can also get real-time updates by following the #TOAM hashtag on twitter.
I always find a visit to TOAM to be a spiritually refreshing and energising experience and this year was no different. I’ll just give a brief report on the sessions I went to.
Session 1 – Matt Hosier – Faithful & Fruitful – The “Lion”
My first session of the day was a seminar by Matt Hosier. His was the first in a series entitled “The Lion, the Bear & the Bulldog”, which was about how we can remain faithful and fruitful at different life stages. I just about still fall into the “Lion” category (up to 35). He worked his way through 10 things you should do before you are 40, based on a list from John Maxwell.
Rather than being a biblical exposition, it was more a collection of proverbial wisdom: “become reconciled to your averageness”, “don’t be dictated to by the tyranny of the urgent”, “things that are worth achieving take time”, “develop the skill of friend making”. A nice touch was that a representative of each of the three age-groups was given a brief chance to give their perspective on the needs of those in the “lions” age range. We were reminded of the importance of simply being willing to serve, and the need to actively seek input from older generations. It was great to be prayed for by a really nice bloke from Brighton at the end.
Sadly my visit was on a day when Dr Goodwill Shana was due to speak, and he was unable to attend due to visa problems. Still the extra time meant the day wasn’t quite so rushed as usual. It was great to meet some fellow newfrontiers bloggers, including Dave Matthias, Dave Bish, Steve Froud, and Steve Dunn.
Session Three – Terry Virgo – The Armour of God
The afternoon session started with worship led by Evan Rogers in his usual exhuberant style. Then it was Terry Virgo, preaching on “the need for defence”, working through the armour of God from Eph 6:10-17. It is testimony to his gift for Bible teaching, that a passage that most of us have heard preached on dozens of times was brought to life yet again, in a challenging & insightful way. I won’t summarise his points since Adrian Warnock has already done so here. He was particularly good on the breastplate of righteousness, and on the helmet of salvation, where he emphasised our future hope – the “not yet” part of our salvation.
Session Four – Dave Devenish – God’s Purposes Fulfilled Through Scattering
The evening session’s worship was led by Kate Simmonds, and we learned an excellent new song about the grace of God. Dave Devenish had the unenviable task of preparing a message for a major conference at very short notice. After a slightly rambling introduction he got right into his stride, speaking on the way that God fulfils his missional purposes through scattering. He showed that this was not merely apostles going to new places, but hundreds of ordinary people taking initiative at a grassroots level. I think this is a principle we really need to take hold of if we are to see significant gospel advance in our nation. Again Adrian Warnock has provided detailed sermon notes.
I obsessively listen to almost every TOAM message each year so am eagerly awaiting the downloads to appear on the newfrontiers website. Sadly they haven’t appeared online yet, but look out for them here over the next few weeks.