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Conferences – Engaging evangelism

February 2017 | by Phil Topham

More than 550 people gathered for the annual Leaders’ Conference organised by the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC) in November 2016.

The theme was Engaging Evangelism, with Ed Stetzer as the main speaker. Mr Stetzer has planted, revitalised and pastored churches on six continents and serves as the executive director of the Billy Graham Centre for Evangelism at Wheaton College in the USA.

He encouraged delegates to contend for the gospel and contextualise the gospel, as he laid down a challenge about whether our churches are equipped for the great task of evangelism.

Ben Lines, pastor of Kinmel Bay Church in North Wales, commented, ‘I have never attended a conference where the speaker understood the context within which they were speaking so well. Ed’s words were challenging, faithful and forming. He challenged our heart and motivation for mission and evangelism while asking questions of our church culture and whether it is fit for purpose’.

Seminars based on the theme included one called ‘Church in hard places’, led by Mez McConnell and the team from ‘20schemes’ in Scotland, as well as practical help on issues such as reaching into local communities, witnessing to men and reaching Muslims. There was also a women’s ministry track and seminars aimed at smaller churches and youth workers.

Dr Ian Shaw from Langham Partnership UK gave a lecture on ‘Spurgeon the evangelist’, while pastors from the Fellowship spoke at the main evening sessions. Worship was led by Above Bar Church in Southampton. Delegates were introduced to Adrian Reynolds from Proclamation Trust, who will become the new FIEC training director after Easter.

This year’s Leaders’ Conference will move to a bigger venue in Torquay and will take place from Monday 13 November to Wednesday 15 November, at the Riviera International Conference Centre.

Phil Topham

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