Peter Maiden, Chairman of the Keswick Convention council and Director of Operation Mobilisation, preached at the first meeting of the 2006 Convention. The conference theme was ‘The church in the power of the Spirit’.
‘Are our churches cross-centred?’ he asked. Are we just becoming a bit more religious, adding a layer of piety to an otherwise secular life?
Being a Christian involves a change so radical that it is described as nothing less than death and resurrection with Christ. What will our churches be like if they are ‘cross-centred’? They will be full of people eager to serve. There will be a deep commitment to maintaining and developing the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
A cross-centred approach is also vital for mission, he continued. ‘One of the real dangers we face today is the danger of triumphalism. We begin to think that we can do it – we have the resources. We have the successful strategies and if things are not going so well, our immediate approach is to find another method.
‘There is nothing wrong with strategy, but the question is who or what are we relying upon? Do we think that if we get the strategy right and the right resources, then success will follow? Are we ready to be surprised by God, because we realise it is his work and not ours?’
Self-reliance must give way to reliance on God. Our salvation has been achieved by Christ. The cross is not only the symbol of our salvation; it is the symbol of our service, standing in stark opposition to the drive for power and prestige in our society.