The Evangelical Movement of Wales Ministers’ Conference was held from 16-18 June in its normal, idyllic setting of Bryn-Y-Groes, Bala, in North Wales. Sessions of devotional ministry and prayer were led by conference chairman Colin Leyshon (Stanmore).
Colin had been called upon at short notice, and we were blessed with his humour coupled with reverence. I particularly appreciated his address on persevering prayer from Luke 18:1-8. We are not to be ‘like children knocking on the door and then running away’, but desperate in continuing prayer to almighty God.
The conference theme was ‘The person and work of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament’. The main speaker was Professor Michael Haykin from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kentucky, who gave his three addresses with authority and clarity.
In the first – ‘The Spirit of holiness’ – based on Romans 1:4, he defined holiness as ‘God’s innermost reality’. For us, holiness means war against sin in the believer’s life.
In ‘The Spirit of Unity’ (Ephesians 4:1-16), he pointed out that since Christ loved the church, the Spirit also loves the church, and engenders love in Christians for each other despite differences.
Love and power
William Carey was ‘not ashamed to be called a Calvinistic Baptist, but loved all of Christ’s people’. Do we have the love of the Spirit for Christians of different persuasions?
In ‘The Spirit of Empowerment’ (2 Timothy 1:7), practical illustrations were given, mainly from the life of Paul, of living in the power of the Spirit. Professor Haykin brought the scriptural narrative alive as he wove in historical facts about individuals like Nero.
The other conference talks were all helpful to the soul. John Aaron spoke on the spirit of revival amongst the Calvinistic Methodists of Wales in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Ian Campbell of UFM spoke on ‘Africa – Tragedy or triumph?’ He referred to the economic and spiritual disappointments, and triumphs of this great continent.
Martin Downes (Deeside) gave the final address, on ‘What really matters in ministry’, from Acts 20. He addressed the shape of gospel ministry, gravity of gospel preaching, and need for pastoral diligence.
Maybe it is the leader of conference discussions who draws the short straw! However, Stephen Clark (Bridgend) skilfully led these two, on functioning in a hostile society, and the Christian and church in relation to the state. An encouraging note of urgency for evangelism was sounded in these discussions.
Bala 2009 takes place from 15-17 June. I recommend it!