On 11 May the second Pastor Training International (PTI) and Christian Books Worldwide (CBW) conference took place.
PTI provides teaching and resources for pastors in the poorest parts of the world. This includes training conferences, a distance mentoring programme, and study materials.
CBW provides evangelistic and teaching books in many languages for the church in the developing world. They help to alleviate the shortage of theological books in Asia and Africa.
The conference was held at Freshbrook Evangelical Church in Swindon, attended by around 70 delegates. John Stevens, National Director of the FIEC, gave the keynote address from Luke 13:22-30, ‘the narrow door’.
He reminded the conference that times are hard for the gospel in the UK. Only three per cent of the population are believers, and that number is barely growing. He explained that although the first half of the passage indicates only a few will find the narrow door, this is referring to the Jewish people’s response to Jesus, when relatively small numbers were saved.
The end of the passage states that people from every corner of the globe will come to share in Christ’s banquet, both Jews and Gentiles.
Mr Stevens gave some challenges to PTI and CBW as they continue their work. We should not be discouraged that gospel ministry is hard in the UK. We should be encouraged that the gospel is triumphing in other countries, and this should give us confidence to persevere.
We should also support our brothers and sisters around the world, as we are in a position to help with training and money. We must be urgent about the work; whilst the door of opportunity today is wide, this too will be closed when Jesus returns in glory.
Finally, we must remain hopeful for our nation, as Jesus said that people would come from all over the world.
He concluded that perhaps we need to ask fellow-Christians from overseas for help. And, as a priority, we need to develop closer fellowship and cooperation to reflect the multi-ethnic Christian communities now living in the UK.