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Reach out or die

May 2011 | by Derek Ventress

Reach out or die

Castle Hall School, Mirfield, was again the venue for the North of England church leaders’ conference held on 11-12 March. More than 150 men and women came together to explore the theme of ‘Reach out or die’.
    The main speaker was David Meredith from Smithton Free Church in Inverness. He set the tone with a striking image — many churches today are like aquaria looking after exotic fish, rather than deep-sea trawlers out to fill their nets from the ocean’s depths.
    He argued that reaching out was not simply a pragmatic necessity, but the inevitable consequence and passion of our own relationship to Christ.
    Tackling obvious reservations about our own weakness and the hardness of the world around us, his three addresses reminded us that our God is awesome, that he does save the lost and is pleased to use those who are weak.
    Julia Jones from Liverpool reminded us that there is a role and need to equip and use women in gospel outreach. In a thoughtful address, she started from the creation to show that although men and women have different and distinct roles in the Lord’s work, they are complementary, and both need to be used fully in the way God intended.
    As ever, useful networking opportunities and reports fitted in around the main talks. The closing address was given by Bill Dyer on: ‘No prayer, no power, no fruit’. This identified not only the need for churches to pray, but described the kind of prayer required to seek God’s blessing on our work.
Derek Ventress

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