On 20th October 2010 over 300 delegates came together for the second FIEC leaders conference at The Hayes conference centre, Swanwick. The purpose, as Colin Tamplin the new Trust Board Chairman put it, 'to further the cause of the gospel through our churches.'
The last two years have seen big changes in the structure of the FIEC. These have come as the FIEC seeks to adapt within biblical principles to face the challenges of gospel ministry in our day. This conference gave an opportunity for the new director, John Stevens (formerly the pastor of City Church, Birmingham), the new Training director, Trevor Archer (formerly the pastor of Chessington Evangelical Church) and the new Pastoral director, Richard Underwood (formerly the General Secretary of the FIEC) to share their vision of how the FIEC can be more effective in supporting and equipping it's member churches. The ideas and plans sounded great and I had a sense of excitement to be part of the FIEC as well as a realisation that these things won't happen overnight. There is a great need of prayer for wisdom and guidance throughout the FIEC.
The conference wasn't all vision and FIEC structures. Each morning began with a time of reflective worship and prayer led by John Gillespie, pastor of Grace Community Church, Looe, Cornwall. There was a selection of helpful seminars on a variety of topics including, leading through change, music in church, encouraging evangelism among women, resolving conflict and taking on apprentices. Then, each evening Ray Evans, pastor of Grace Community Church, Bedford, took us to the book of Philippians demonstrating and encouraging Christ-like leadership.
I came away refreshed and challenged through the ministry. I was encouraged through the fellowship with other believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and I am glad that I as a pastor and the church that God has placed me in are part of the FIEC. Just got to fill out the booking form for next year - 2nd - 4th November 2011.