Some might think that a conference run by the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC) for church leaders would be a bit predictable. That certainly was not the case with the 2014 conference. As we were about to leave John Stevens, FIEC national director, said, ‘God has done something special among us in the past four days’.
Many conferences fill our minds with good teaching, fresh ideas, ministry methods and more. The FIEC Leaders’ Conference did have great teaching, and all those other things, but there was also a deep challenge to live dependent on Christ.
Highlights for me began on the first evening, with an earnest challenge to live focused on the death of Christ, as Steve Levy from Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, Swansea, spoke about Jesus’ words, ‘I am the bread of life’.
On the second evening, Tope Koleoso, a guest speaker from a New Frontiers church in London, gave a moving challenge. He told us not only to know Christ as the good shepherd, but to watch ourselves as under-shepherds, guarding and nurturing the flock.
Some of the FIEC directors spoke in the keynote meetings, following the theme of being ‘In dependence’. Andy Hunter, director for Scotland, fixed our eyes on Christ, the one upon whom we must depend. Richard Underwood, director for pastoral ministries, gave an earnest call to pray perseveringly.
Trevor Archer, training director, asked us to be biblically generous in giving, not simply biblically orthodox; while Andy Paterson, director for mission, urged us to reach this needy nation with the gospel. The sense that FIEC is not static, but on the move, pervaded the conference.
Andrew Nicholson, operations director, said that he wants to hear more churches saying, ‘We do not see our contribution to FIEC as part of our administrative budget; we put it in our missions budget’.
Although primarily for FIEC churches, the conference is open to others. Most of the talks are on fiec.org.uk. Next year’s conference is on 2-5 November 2015.