Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NIMA 2009

It's Wednesday, but it feels like a Monday. Monday morning is the start of the week for me, as it's the day after the last big preach, and as far as possible from the next one on the following Sunday. Monday morning is the time for deskwork, printing out the passage for Sunday's preach, and getting stuck into the initial exegesis early on in the week.

All of which is fine, until something else happens on Monday, then Tuesday becomes the new Monday. But this week, Wednesday is the new Monday. Why, I hear you say?

Monday and Tuesday were two great days spent in Trinity Methodist Church, Lisburn (really Ballymacoss) at the Northern Ireland Minstry Assembly, organised by the NIMA working group and Proclamation Trust. Around 90 pastor-teachers, student ministers and apprentices came together for two days of fellowship and teaching from God's word, in an assembly that spans the denominations - Church of Ireland, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, and some others.

Hugh Palmer, Rector of All Souls' Langham Place (John Stott's church) spoke on Preaching That Connects, an exposition of 1 Thessalonians, giving us a great re-introduction to Paul's letter, while at the same time feeding us richly from the Bible, and inspiring us to be focused on the primary task of teaching and preaching - which sees change, which is passionate for people, which counters the culture and which faces the ultimate realities of life and death.

Voddie Baucham, Pastor of Preaching at Grace Family Baptist Church, spoke on the need for faithful preaching in a day when the culture is hostile and many are abandoning and compromising the faith once for all delivered to the saints, and becoming like the world rather than changing the world through the word.

His final session was a statement on why he believes the Bible - something which would have been very useful in those dark days of Trinity:
The Bible is a reliable collection of historical documents written by eyewitnesses during the lifetime of other eyewitnesses which report supernatural events in fulfillment of specific prophecies claiming that they are words of divine origin, rather than human in origin.
All of which is the outline of his talk from 2 Peter 1:16-21.

Two very different styles of presentation, but the one united message, restoring confidence in the word of God and the call to preach the word. The notes taken will have to be carefully examined and considered again and again over the coming weeks, so that the conference wasn't just a nice two days but don't really affect what I do and how I do it - otherwise it would have been a wasted opportunity.

Colin Adams of Unashamed Workman was also at the conference and has blogged on the impression of illustrations.

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