Reflections on the RM Leadership Conference
Paul & Rebeca Clist (based at King's City West) recently attended the Relational Mission Leadership Conference. So we asked them to give us their take on a significant time in the life of our family of churches.
A few weeks ago my wife and I attended the RM leadership conference. It was really special to worship, pray and learn with 450 or so others from lots of different churches and nations. If you missed it, I'm sorry! Here are a few reflections on the conference, but I'd also recommend listening to some of the talks/seminars. You can access them here
I think the most impressive thing about the entire conference, was how 'unimpressive' the speakers were! For example, Tom Shaw shared that he had lived a comfortable life in a Christian bubble, and that God had convinced him that this was wrong, if he truly loved those around him. Mike Betts spoke about dealing honestly with disappointments and set backs. Terry Virgo spoke humbly and simply about prayer. Edward Buria shared how God had healed him, completely turning his life around. I go to several conferences a year for my job, and have never heard so many people speak at such length about their own weaknesses, struggles and failures.
2. Team leadership
The team element was also really special: leaders learning from each other, each eager to put themselves in the position of a student, so that they might teach better. This was not a conference with big stars speaking and everyone else learning. A real picture of this team ethic, and humility, was that everyone that had served at the conference, from speaking to stewarding, was asked to stand somewhere in the hall, and each person who hadn't served was asked to pray for someone. This was a picture of a deeper truth: we all have our role, we can all be used by God and we all need the help and support of our brothers and sisters. Another example of this was Mike Betts sharing about his reliance and dependence on others in areas of weakness. If the guy at the front is willing to admit they need to rely on others, perhaps the rest of us should too!
3. What next?
There were two themes to the conference, and this next stage for relational mission: 'a left hook and a right hook' of corporate prayer (i.e. the Enough nights of prayer) and large scale evangelism (every one a witness). I think evangelism can be a scary subject for many people. I want to share something that happened to me on the night before the conference which I hope will help you. I wanted an early night, and so was reading in bed at about 10pm. However, I couldn't really concentrate as I kept hearing a weird noise. When my wife came home, we ended up going into the loft, and discovered two baby sparrows who had been hatched in our loft but were now cut off from their parents. They were trapped in this tiny space by a roof joist, hemmed in and unable to fly. It took over an hour to gently rescue them: they were frightened and scared of their rescuer. It doesn't take an incredible prophetic gift or amazing bible knowledge to turn to Matthew 10:29-33:
"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven."
I'd never really looked at the context of this before. Jesus is saying 'don't worry, I know that you scared of talking about me to others, but I love you, more than you know'. I'm not really a big fan of animals, but even I took great care to rescue those two baby sparrows from being trapped. If we love those around us, we can't help but share about the amazing difference knowing Jesus has made in our life. It can be scary as we make ourselves vulnerable, but He really does love you. This love, and this picture, should be the fuel to our evangelism: we're 'broken vessels' sharing our faith with those we love, and we don't need to be afraid.