The inspiring North of England Church Officers’ Conference, on the theme ‘Hope for better days’, was held in the new Dewsbury Evangelical Church premises.
David Meredith of Smithton Free Church, Inverness, was the principal speaker. His first address, ‘Gospel hope’, demonstrated from Ezekiel 37 hope for the gospel today, which shines brightly against secularism. Hope comes from honestly assessing situations and humbly recognising that God can make a difference. Hope brings determination to preach and pray.
His second address, ‘Gospel power’, was based on the fall of Jericho. We do not enlist God. He does not take sides. We must be on God’s side, seeking to know his plans. God does not diminish himself, adapting to our thinking. Instead, we subject ourselves to him. God’s victory was achieved in an extraordinary manner. He can do the unexpected and humanly unlikely.
His third address was on ‘Gospel resources’. Church growth brings problems (Acts 6, 17). Resolutions require recognition of the real problems, deciding priorities, delegating responsibility and, by seeking God’s wisdom with prayer, proposing solutions. Prosperity for the church results.
Luke Jenner, from Grace Baptist Church, Halifax, said they evangelised according to their gifts, not perceived needs. That way, members were not stressed in ministries unsuitable to their gifting, but were fulfilled in their service.
Bill Dyer, from Pontefract Congregational Church, spoke of God’s wonderful work in growing that church, particularly in the 1970s and 1980s, despite considerable overt opposition to the gospel. Their priorities were preaching, evangelism, expectant prayer, tithing and personal growth through reading.
Mark Troughton, York Evangelical Church, brought the final address, ‘The hidden God’. The God who is hidden to the world is revealed to the believer through the cross. Although God may seem hidden at times of suffering, it is then that faith reveals his presence to the believer, and he makes us strong in our weaknesses.
Seminars on different aspects of Christian life and service, and reports of church life from around the region, were helpful and uplifting.