Deb and I recently returned from the Newfrontiers annual Global Conference. We were joined this year by a few leaders from King’s, and I have asked Joe Macnamara, our Downham Site Pastor, to share his reflections on Global as a first-time attendee.
It was a privilege to be able to attend the Newfrontiers Global Conference in Cyprus two weeks ago. It was my first time attending, and having heard much about it, I was very excited about going.
During the opening session, hosted by Steve and Deb, Steve shared how the conference reveals the global reach of God's Church, lifting our eyes beyond our own local or national context. There is something about spending time hearing from men and women who are planting churches, pioneering into unreached people groups, liaising with governments about law changes, bringing aid in conflict zones and leading churches in some of the most hostile places in the world, that leaves you feeling inspired and full of faith. How I imagine it might feel walking into a battle surrounded by giants. You realise that your own church context is just a small part of a far bigger story.
There were many highlights I could share here: outstanding teaching from pastors based in four different continents, incredible times of sung worship, remarkable testimonies of multiplication, and Christ being the very centre of our time together. However, I want to focus on just two.
Firstly, the times of prayer: There aren’t many conferences where entire meetings are given over to prayer. In one of those meetings came a standout moment: prayers in over 20 different languages including Albanian, Bulgarian, English, French, Greek, Portuguese, Shona, Spanish, Swahili, Twi, German, Dutch and Ukrainian. Hearing people from all over the world offer up prayers of praise and thanksgiving was a future glimpse of the great magnitude we read about in Revelation 7:9-10: ‘behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, 'Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’
Secondly, the sense of family: The conference was a reminder that we are part of a global family, with 60 nations represented. The diversity was staggering; I personally shared a dinner table with people from Kenya, South Africa, Ukraine and Guernsey, to name just a few! There was a tremendous sense of family throughout, as people both rejoiced with some of the stories of miracles and kingdom breakthrough and stood with those who were facing remarkable challenge and opposition. As we broke bread together in the final session it was a picture of gospel unity.
In days when it can seem like Christianity is on the decline, particularly for those of us in the Western world, it was refreshing to be in a context and hear that the Kingdom is advancing, God is building his Church and the ‘Gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world.’