I’ve spent the past three days in Harrogate, at the annual Elim Church Leaders’ Summit. It’s been a remarkable time; I think the best conference we’ve had in recent years, and a historic one in which our outgoing General Superintendent, John Glass, was honoured before handing over to Chris Cartwright, who takes over the role. It is clear that God has chosen our new national leader well. Chris is a humble, servant leader. He has a good historical perspective on Elim’s past, and courage to look to the future not being afraid to change things. He has introduced a year in which he intends to take stock of how the movement is, listening to its people and to the Holy Spirit, to assess alongside the other national leaders and more widely, how God wants the church to develop as we have entered our second century. We have left Harrogate with expectant hearts.
For a personal perspective, here is the short article I’ve just written for our church bulletin this weekend:
Seven of our leaders had a wonderful three days at the Elim Leaders’ Summit in Harrogate last week. We witnessed the transfer of national leadership as John Glass handed over the office of General Superintendent to Chris Cartwright. We participated in inspiring worship. We heard stirring and challenging teaching and we all found our level of expectation for the things of God raised. The main visiting speaker was Alan Scott, who leads a Vineyard work in Ireland, who spoke powerfully about not being intimidated, nor being impressed by culture, but that we should be affecting our culture for God, and see more miracles and moves of God in our communities than in our church buildings. The theme of the week was ‘Expectant’ – and it was genuinely inspiring to be with over a thousand fellow leaders, praying and expecting the Lord to do great things in the coming months and years in and through our local churches and Elim nationally.
Share some of our blessing! You can listen to MP3 (audio) versions of many of the sessions, on http://www.elim.org.uk/Articles/446797/Elim_Leaders_Summit.aspx#mp3
In the next few Weekly News issues, other members of the team will share their own reflections on the Summit, so let me write first that, alongside all the wonderful things mentioned above, Elim national conferences are also places for me to catch up with dear friends whom I now only see occasionally. This year I have been telling them how God is leading William and me to move this summer. And of course I’ve also been hearing their news and we’ve been able to pray for each other, which has been great. But the greatest time of fellowship was in the flat we all shared together (the Braintree 7), right across the road from the conference centre. On the first evening we all took a couple of minutes at the end of the day to share what God had said to us that day. On the second night, Lewis led us in a powerful time of praying and prophesying over each other. An hour and a half of powerful ministry in the company of our own leaders: I love that group! And I am so grateful to God that as I leave the leadership of Elim Braintree, there is a Spirit-filled, expectant group of leaders stepping up.
So in this time of transition for us, both nationally and locally, please pray for our leaders: for Chris and the national leadership team; for Lewis, who will chair the church session when I leave, and the rest of the team, and for each other. May God inspire us, fill us, work in and through us, and may we experience more of the Spirit’s power in our own communities, as we invade them for Jesus.