The 'Glorious Normal'
Churches can face a number of challenges in today’s world as they seek to be faithful to the gospel. We can be tempted to think that what we are doing week by week is no longer sufficient to meet these challenges, and that we should change tack in order to be more effective. This was the theme of the FIEC conference entitled “The Glorious Normal”. A small group of us attended the event at the East London Tabernacle on 12 November.
The conference consisted of three main sessions that each included worship, prayer, interviews with leaders and a speaker. Notes on the sessions are below -
The Glorious God (Johnny Prime)
Johnny spoke about God revealing his glory in the ordinary, using Exodus 16, and the provision of manna as an example. In particular, he spoke about supernatural provision, gracious provision, generous provision and ongoing provision, and showed how each of these headings mirrored the sacrifice of Jesus.
Quote - “There’s nothing ordinary about the glory of God, but his glory in seen in the ordinary.”
You can listen to Johnny's address here
The Glorious Future (Ray Brown)
Psalm 87. Ray is soon to be appointed Pastor of the East London Tabernacle and he spoke about the future when representatives from the nations mentioned in v4, who were hostile to God and his people will all be included in the those who are saved. V6 refers to an Old Testament view of the New Testament Lamb’s book of life.
The Glorious Normal (John Stevens)
2 Timothy 3-4. John reflected on the experiences of the last 18 months, and of the realities of ministering in a post-Christian culture. He showed how 2 Timothy was written at a time of great change, and there might have been a temptation to panic and try something different in terms of ministry. Instead, Timothy is encouraged to do three things which are still true for us today - read the scriptures, proclaim the gospel, endure hardship. These are ‘normal’ activities rather than anything spectacularly different but will bring fruit when we are faithful in them.
There were around 400 attendees at the London conference, and it was particularly encouraging to see a high proportion of young men serving in a variety of leadership positions. The organisation was excellent and a dedicated app on our phones contained all the information for the day.
Overall impressions? Very encouraging to be amongst so many others, to find that we had so much in common in terms of experiences in ministry, and to be reminded not to miss God’s glory in the ‘normal’.
You can see the other addresses from the day here