All across Britain today, Christians will be packing food parcels, giving advice to those overwhelmed by debt, making beds at night shelters, and offering hope to hundreds – maybe thousands – of people who are in one kind of poverty or another.
Volunteering in social action or social justice projects is hugely rewarding. Practically demonstrating the love of God to people, sometimes to those who feel that no one else cares about them and society has forgotten them, not only impacts the lives of those being helped, but is also incredibly satisfying for those helping. It gives a sense of purpose. We were created for community and designed to care for one another. It feels good to do good because we are called to.
“The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory… You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God… You shall be called ‘My delight is in her’.”
As Isaiah 62:1-4 was read out, we dreamt: could this be true for Scotland? Over 170 of us had gathered in Edinburgh for our Missional Church conference with a desire to see our nation reached with the gospel, and play our part in God’s plans for Europe.
Friday night began the best way possible: a hog roast! Introductions followed from the New Ground team, who combined funny personal anecdotes with highlights of the remarkable ways in which God had changed them. We heard about Liz Holden paying for people’s shopping in Lidl, Dale Barlow’s surprise at God calling him to lead a church, and Henk and Eunee Kersten’s obedience in moving to Maastricht to serve God from there. This set us up for Saturday morning’s teaching from Chris Taylor and Dave Holden: the big picture of mission and what a missional church is like.
What a joy it was to be back in India recently. Since my first visit in 1979 I have grown to love the country and especially the saints there.
I love its colour, its crowds, its sounds, its smells, its food, its incredible traffic and its complete indifference to the concept of any vehicle having ‘right of way’ on the road. I have nothing but admiration for those who drive me around, but no ambition to take the wheel myself.
Although most of my previous visits have been to serve the Newfrontiers churches there, I was on this occasion invited by my very dear friend Rambabu, an exceptionally gifted evangelist who not long ago moved to Bangalore and one year ago started a new church, now attended by over one thousand people. Unusually for India, he was very keen to establish a church founded not only on his remarkably powerful evangelism and signs and wonders ministry, but also a clear grasp of gospel grace and full awareness of our new identity in Christ. He invited me to speak on these themes.
Wayne Parsons reflects on the UK Youth Workers’ Conference 2015.
We had an incredible time at the newday Youth Workers’ Conference this weekend. It was so good to gather with over 300 youth workers from around the country. From the first meeting you could feel the expectation in the room, and God definitely didn’t disappoint. We advertised the weekend as a time to meet with God, get equipped and enjoy good time with your team, and it was so good watching each of these aspects being worked out amongst those present.