Yesterday I got back from one of the best conferences that I have been to. The Bible-centred Youth worker conference put on by the Good Book Company, it was my first time attending this conference and I will definitely be going back. It was very different from any other Youth work conferences that are around.
This one wasn’t cool, it wasn’t slick, there were no gimmicks, they didn’t coax people in with the prospect of a free Ipad, they didn’t ship in the popular praise band of the day; and no one was boasting about the size of their youth group.
So what was the draw? Why had people travelled to it from all over the UK? Why was it that most of the delegates had been attending the conference year after year?
To the outsider looking in the conference was nothing special.
However it was four days jam packed of fantastic Bible teaching. There was up-front Bible teaching, smaller group teaching, seminars and group discussion; all of which was rooted firmly in the word of God.
The Big Preach
The upfront bible teaching was mainly done by Andy Patterson the mission director of FIEC:
Before taking up his current role, Andy spent 24 years pastoring Kensington Baptist Church; a large inner-city church in an ethnically diverse area of Bristol. Whilst at Kensington, Andy was involved in various church plants, cross-cultural work and local community projects. He was previously President of FIEC from 2001 to 2004 and also served as Chairman of the PfS Board until 2005.
Andy spoke to us from the book of Isaiah, perhaps not the most obvious choice for a youth work conference…but as Bible-centred youth workers we believe in preaching the full counsel of God (perhaps i have been guilt of neglecting to teach the OT prophets) However it was great to dive in and study Isaiah together. At first we studied the context in order to get a handle of the book, but then Andy preached a message on the seriousness of sin. It was very convicting indeed, the Spirit was at work highlighting to us all the sin we have in our lives. I’m sure there wasn’t a single person in the room who was not convicted. I think one of the things that I have taken away from the conference is that I need to have a deeper awareness of my own sin and my need for complete dependency in God.
Andy continued through Isaiah and showed us that out of judgement comes hope, he took us to the pointers to Christ and he encouraged us to think about the vastness of God, and His great providence.
There was 3 different streams that you could choose from; Ministry, Theology and Leadership. I decided that it would be best to do the Leadership stream.
The Leadership stream was headed up by Jonty Allcock and Andy Patterson. Half of the time was spent in group study in the book of Titus and the other half Andy spoke about leadership and addressed many of the big issues in leadership. One of the most significant things he spoke about was vision and how it was key to setting a vision. Once a vision is set it is easy to decide what things are worth while getting involved in, because, all you have to do is ask yourself, will this help us to achieve our vision.
So what will take away from the conference?
There was so much great stuff taught at the conference and I thought that it would be important to think through what I am going to take away. So after much reflection, this is what i am going to take away.
What kind of person will God use?
Anyone with a big vision of God, a deep awareness of sin, a profound awareness of grace and will go whatever the cost.
– I would like to thank the Good Book co for putting on this great conference, check out their website (I think the talks will be posted soon), buy some books, and come with me next year.