A Conference for Grown Up Christians
That was just one of the comments about the recent “God’s Glory – Our Joy” conference, held this year at Calvary Church Liverpool on the weekend of 16th and 17th October.
To be a grown up Christian though, does not depend on how old you are. But it has a lot to do with your view of God, His word, its preaching and its application.
Many from the Liverpool area will remember when Calvary was filled to the balconies at its annual Bible conventions. That was not the case at this event – perhaps a reflection on the spiritual state of the city rather than the efforts of the conference organisers to promote the event, which is now in its fifth year. One minister commented that on the Friday evening, he counted the number of local churches represented on the fingers of one hand…
But before succumbing to the current malaise of being too negative about specific events, it was good to see at least one church, Holywell Evangelical, made the effort to tell its young people about how profitable the meetings would be. It was encouraging to see its young folk make the journey to Liverpool for the Friday evening meeting – surely a lesson for every young people’s leader to enthuse young believers to attend meetings like this.
Certainly there was rich fare on offer on both days. Straightforward “down the line” preaching which lifted the word – and the God of the word – away from the current propensity to glorify man and approach everything from the base point of the lowest common denominator. Singing – even some new “old” hymns – was hearty, if stilted at times…and you could here a pin drop in at least one of the sermons.
Overall the subjects addressed – everything from the church around the word, the church as the pillar and ground of truth, the vital issue of repentance, and the church prayer meeting respectively were covered by speakers Oliver Allmand-Smith (Ramsbottom Evangelical) on Friday evening, Gerard Hemmings, (Amyand Park Chapel, Twickenham) Nigel Lacey (formerly Lusaka Baptist Church, Zambia) and Ian Harrison (West Park Chapel, Wolverhampton) on the Saturday which incidentally saw a much better attendance with over 20 churches represented.
Pastor Allmand-Smith took as his text Colossians 3:16, asserting that the word must always be the regulative principle of every church meeting. What better reason is there to attend church than to hear the word of the risen Lord preached faithfully and fervently? His comments of teaching and admonishing were a timely reminder of what can be missing in much modern preaching as the arrows of application are either absent or fly over the heads of many worshippers.
Highlight of the Saturday meeting for me at least was Nigel Lacey’s exposition on the vital necessity of repentance. One of the early books I remember reading was John Colquhoun’s treatment of the subject and Pastor Lacey stressed simply but powerfully what a radical and miraculous work real repentance is – and just as importantly what real repentance is not.
‘Are our prayer meetings like organ recitals?’ asked Ian Harrison. He was being serious too, remembering the comment of a Pastor who was alluding to the way in which many prayer meetings concentrate on various illnesses and ailments rather than the corporate pleading of God’s promises. He took as his text Nehemiah chapter l.
All in all a blessed time for those who attended. Perhaps more local churches will put in an early diary entry for next year’s event which, DV, will be held on 14th – 15th October 2005.
Roger Blaxall, Aughton Park Baptist Church, Ormskirk, Lancashire
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