It was delightful to welcome almost sixty people to the EMF spring conference, held in early April at Ballymoney Baptist Church, Northern Ireland.
The theme for the day was ‘Building for the Future’. Two of our most experienced mission-partners – Dawid Koziol from Zywiec in Poland and Manuel Franco from Almunecar in Spain – shared news of their endeavours.
It was thrilling to hear both men reflect on God’s providence and his blessings upon their gospel labours. Dawid explained how his church has grown substantially over the last five years; the congregation is now in need of bigger premises. Indeed, last year they stepped out in faith and launched a new building project.
Manuel Franco’s situation is also encouraging. In under a year, around twenty new people started attending the church, effectively doubling the congregation. We praise God for these remarkable developments.
It was both interesting and important to note that in both situations these blessings were preceded by many years of spiritual drought. The lesson was clear: gospel work in Europe today is usually slow, costly and very hard work.
Nonetheless, it is wholly worthwhile: the glory of Christ and the salvation of sinners is at stake. Oh, that God would raise up more servants who are ready to labour, sacrifice and herald the gospel to the vast and needy harvest fields of Europe!
Bringing our conference to a close, Daniel Grimwade (Pastor of Dewsbury Evangelical Church and Chairman of the EMF board of trustees) ministered God’s Word to us. Romans 15:14-33 was his text and he highlighted three great truths.
Firstly, we saw that world mission is God’s work and is for God’s glory. We play our part, but we must remember that God alone determines the principles and practice of mission.
Secondly, world mission involves proclaiming the gospel of Christ. At heart, mission must involve a message. And not just any message, but specifically telling people that salvation can be found through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Without that message it isn’t mission. Without that message people will perish.
Lastly, Daniel emphasised how world mission requires local church partnership. This is why the EMF is passionate about fostering links locally, nationally and globally.
The day was truly one of inspiring reports, rich fellowship and soul-stirring preaching. We look ahead to the autumn EMF conference in October at Stranmillis Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Belfast.