More than 150 people gathered near Milton Keynes in January for the yearly Hub Conference, organised by the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC).
Those considering the call to be pastors, pastors’ wives, youth and children’s workers and women’s workers enjoyed seminars and worship, as well as Bible teaching, in the main sessions from Paul Mallard. The Hub also gave representatives from training colleges around the UK the chance to engage with those on their ministry journey.
Central to the conference was the chance for delegates to meet up with experienced ministers and ministry couples from independent churches, to pray with them and offer help and advice.
In the main ministry this year, Mr Mallard took the themes of ‘Loving God, learning from pain’ and ‘Longing for holiness’, as he preached from Ephesians, Romans and Philippians.
One conference delegate commented on the weekend by saying, ‘The seminars were so helpful in giving practical advice. I was reminded to be thankful for the incredible support we have. I was challenged by Spurgeon (and the apostle Paul) on the idea of being compelled to preach. I found great wisdom in the words of those talking about what family life in ministry looks like’.
‘Thinking about going into ministry became a secondary issue for me over the course of three days. I was just thrilled to be taught from God’s Word, moved deeply and challenged relentlessly’.
The Hub was first held in 2012, initiated by FIEC training director Trevor Archer as a way of encouraging people to think about a Free Church route into ministry. The conferences have been attended by people from FIEC churches, other independent churches and Anglican backgrounds. This has led to other initiatives to encourage Free Church ministry.
The project includes the book series ‘Ministry journeys’, published by 10ofThose, and the Hub Videos, which are short films published on the FIEC website looking at specific areas of ministry. This year, Paul Mallard and Trevor Archer launched their book The Call at the conference.
Mr Archer said, ‘It is four years since the Hub Conference began, and it has been a great joy and privilege that more than 500 men and women have attended, as part of their journey in seeking the Lord’s guidance on their lives.
‘To see the Lord stirring the hearts of the next generation of potential gospel workers is such an encouragement, and a sign of his intent to bless the church in our nation’.