Friday 23rd & Saturday 24th March 2012
Malcolm Watts, Jonathan Stobbs & Alun McNabb
Malcolm Watts: Pastor at Emmanuel Church, Salisbury
Jonathan Stobbs: Pastor at Penzance Baptist Church
Alun McNabb: Great Bridgeford, Stafford
The conference, for ministers, church workers and their wives, was held at Ebenezer Chapel, Old Hill, Birmingham on 23rd and 24th March. Now in its third year, it is well-established and greatly valued for its distinctive emphasis on the Word of God and heart religion. The speakers were Malcolm Watts of Salisbury, Alun McNabb of Stafford and Jonathan Stobbs of Penzance.
Mr.Watts` first address was on Preaching the Word, based on Ecclesiastes 12:8ff. Preaching has suffered in many churches where other elements of worship have been given greater prominence. But God still calls men to the ordained ministry, and endues them with the necessary gifts and graces to engage in effective Word-based, Christ-exalting ministry. The second address was on preaching with the heart of Christ, based on Luke 10 and 19. Ministers must seek to emulate Christ in his love for mankind and compassion for the lost. It was his same heart of love which promised forgiveness and warned of judgment. Preachers must have such a heart as they address their congregations.
Mr.Stobbs gave two addresses on the much neglected theme of Repentance, based on Zechariah 12:10-14 and 13:1-6 respectively. At the heart of true repentance is godly sorrow, not only for sin and guilt, but also for Christ crucified for sinners. God`s remedy for sin and sorrow is in the precious fountain of grace by which, through Christ`s death, God`s wrath is propitiated and sin is expiated. The Lord`s people, who come to this fountain must necessarily reject false prophets with their idolatry and immorality.
One session was given to a panel discussion on the subject of the Lord`s leading. The four members of the panel spoke about the Lord`s leading in their Christian lives and ministries. The first referred to Romans 8:14 and Psalm 139. Another gave a moving account of his call to the ministry, The third spoke of faith in the Word and promises of God, and the fourth on the need for patience to see the unfolding of God`s will and purpose. The women had a separate meeting led ably by Ruth Kay of Barnstaple.
Alun McNabb was the preacher at the Friday evening preaching rally. He gave a memorable, challenging sermon on Desiring God, based on Psalm 73:25. This God-given desire is to be encouraged and will be wonderfully rewarded.
Many church leaders would find great benefit in attending these conferences, with the kind of spiritual ministry and warmth of fellowship we have enjoyed once again this year. The ladies of the chapel provided excellent meals! The next conference is planned for 22nd and 23rd March 2013 (D.V.)