Grace Baptist Assembly
‘Stimulating, informative, challenging and immensely thought provoking’, were some of the words I overheard at meal times.
These were used to describe the sessions enjoyed by the 130 attendees at the 2011 Grace Baptist Assembly (GBA) held at the Hayes Conference Centre, at Swanwick in Derbyshire, under the intriguing title of ‘Hope for churches in unhappy times’.
Why did I go? Because I am an ordinary church member and the programme looked good! So what is GBA all about? Its object is to provide fellowship and encouragement to churches whose doctrinal standards are the 1689 London confession of faith or the 1966 Baptist affirmation of faith.
The Bible ministry of Stuart Olyott was incisive and direct as he preached on two occasions authoritatively and persuasively from the Scriptures. Forty minutes seemed like ten.
However, not only were we encouraged to look upward and inward and onward, but also to look outward to the opportunity of Christian work in Turkey and the Philippines, as well as hearing much other news from home and abroad.
Barry King, who pastors Grace Baptist Church in Wood Green, London, and who leads the Grace Baptist Partnership, spoke humbly and with passion of the urgent need in the UK to plant new churches.
Guided by the Scriptures, he graciously but firmly demolished arguments for not taking the church planting issue seriously. To conclude the assembly, Gary Benfold, minister of Moordown Baptist Church, Bournemouth, encouraged us to keep on keeping on.
The main teaching sessions can be heard on www.gracebaptistassembly.org.uk/gba and the 2012 assembly is planned for 23-25 May.