International Bible Conference (L.C.)
September 5, 2008
Praise the Lord! It is our greatest honor and privilege to host the International Bible Conference “Indigenous Church” this year in Hong Kong in our new Tsuen Wan venue. From 5th to 7th September, there were over 600 attendees joined, including 400 overseas delegates from the Hope of God family. Through teachings, preaching, workshops, testimonies, devotion and fellowship during the two-and-a-half day event, we learned the practical ways of building strong churches and people by systematically studying the word of God under a specific topic.
Despite the large number of attendees, registration was very smooth on the first morning and Pastor Gavin announced the opening of the conference on time. By the time Brother Allen and his team led the congregation through the opening Praise and Worship, almost everyone at the conference was dancing his or her way through while glorifying the Lord. The ever-going high-spirit praises and worships continued in the evening, led by Brothers and Sisters from Hope Brisbane. Hope London P&W team led the 2nd morning’s session and Hope Singapore led that evening. The powerful songs and prayers by these worship leaders shook the floors while inspiring and stirring the hearts of the audience and we could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit throughout the whole conference.
Pastor PN and Pastor Simon were the teachers. The 8 lessons included:
- Indigeneity, Indigenisation and an Indigenous Church
- Indifenisation in Jesus
- Culture, the Context of the Church
- A Local Church by the Locals
- A Local Church for the Locals
- Advantages of an Indigenous Church
- Cautions in Indigenisation
- Qualities Required for Indigenisation
Pastor PN enforced our thoughts and reminded us that Salvation is universal we should think globally while we act locally. That was important to avoid us getting out of focus of being just a scaffolding to strengthen the foundation when issues drown us while we build. Training is one of the most important aspects, that is, to train leaders for different areas of ministry and to train them to train. Both the operation and the operator relevant to the local culture are important, the key being contextualising while indigenising. Pastor confirmed all the teachings through the examples Jesus have set.
Pastor Simon opened our minds by encouraging us to keep looking into extending the territories. His church was looking into starting an Indian Group and he asked the whole congregation to pray and desire for a new area to evangelise. Pastor Simon further explained that when we were drown in our life, our families, our work, we tend to live so mechanically and routinely that we did not venture and look into new ideas; we should therefore keep opening our hearts and our minds and be brightened in HIM.
Pastor Jeff preached on Mark 4 the sowing of seeds and harvesting. He encouraged brothers and sisters that although our ultimate aim is to reap the harvest and to save souls, we should not be disappointed when we do not immediately reap what we sow. Never give up, as whatever we sow will not be in vain. More importantly, are we equipped for things that come our way? We must be vigilant in recognizing harvests that are ripe and reap them, but not losing heart on those that are not ripe. Keep sowing GOD will do the rest.
The Devotion by Dr. Brendan and the testimonies of church planting were also very encouraging. It is clear that we were called by HIM with the purpose being to fulfill HIS Great Commission.
Other then preaching and sharing, five workshops were also held to instigate deeper communication and practical discussions. The participants, while enjoying every moment of these workshops, were somewhat overwhelmed as the topics, though very practical, were challenging to follow completely. Instructors did not just challenge them but affirm them that as long as they commit to HIM in faith and walk closely with HIM, all things are possible. Workshops included “Missions Mobilisers”, conducted by Charmaine and Cara; “Personal Evangelism” by Peter; “Evangelism Campaigns for Centers” by Soradej; “God is our Director” by Lai and “Moving in the Spirit” by Michael.
At the end of the conference, a half-day tour was organized for 28 brothers and sisters who were interested in sightseeing around Hong Kong. In the spirit of unity, a sister led the tour while six other brothers and sisters helped in escorting the group to ensure a smooth running of the tour.
May God anoint brothers and sisters with strength and faith; to put what we learnt into practice and to extend our territories while we cooperate with HIM to complete HIS Will. With all glory and honor to our Heavenly Father, we thank HIM for always reassuring and reinforcing us through the family of God.