Welcome to Jon Gemmell
We’re delighted that Jon Gemmell has joined us as Associate Director for Conferences and Resources. Jon was at the younger ministers’ conference last week and is in the office from this week. Jon joins us to work three days a week primarily on our conference programme. He comes to us from Scotland where he was senior pastor of Bruntsfield Evangelical Church in Edinburgh for 7 years, during which time he was also Director of Edinburgh City Mission and chairman of the East of Scotland Gospel Partnership. We’re looking forward to Jon being on the team!
Cornhill next year
Details of our plans for the future of Cornhill are now online.
At the thanksgiving service for 25 years of Cornhill I outlined the plans and the thinking behind them – you can watch the video below.
The Cornhill pages of our website have now also been updated to reflect the new structure of the course (details particularly in the Content section). And applications for next year are also now open.
Past, present, future
Here’s Christopher Ash’s short exposition from the Cornhill 25 and Counting thanksgiving service.
Cornhill: looking back
Another excerpt from the Cornhill 25 and Counting celebration last week. David Jackman interviews some previous students, together with some videos from former students who are now overseas.
Cornhill: how it all began
Over the next few days we’ll be posting video highlights from the service of thanksgiving for the 25th anniversary of the Cornhill Training Course, held last week.
First, here’s a brief interview with Dick Lucas on how it all began.
Please pray for this week’s Autumn Ministers conference
Please pray for the Autumn Ministers conference which began yesterday. Christopher Ash is speaking on Ruth, and I’m speaking on Principles of Application. Plus a couple of sessions from Vaughan Roberts, our hallmark preaching workshop groups, and time for relaxation and fellowship.
Our blog is taking a sabbatical too….
The Proclaimer blog is not going to be doing quite so much proclaiming as it has in the past. As you will know if you read the blog regularly or read the Christian news in the UK, I’m moving on next Spring to take up a role with the FIEC. Before that I have a three month sabbatical starting very soon and in this changeover period for The Proclamation Trust we’ve come to the decision to suspend the blog for a few months while we take stock.
Do keep us in your feed in the meantime as the blog will be used for news items so you can hear about conferences, resources and other plans. But there won’t be a daily feed from me from after today.
I’ve been posting to the blog for 7 years plus. I’ve lost count how many posts that is. And I noticed the other day when I searched for a particular post that I’d written it several times over those years. In other words, there are times when I’ve sounded like a cracked record. Sorry about that!
But I’ve tried not to lose the aim behind the blog which was to provide a daily encouragement, challenge or thought to those who are called to the high calling of ministering God’s word to others. I know it can be a lonely furrow. I’ve been there. I know it can be discouraging and there are times when you wonder “Is it all worth it?” I only ever really wanted to do one thing with my posts which was to say to you “Keep going!”
Someone once said to me that reading the Proclaimer Blog was like having a cup of coffee with us in the office. I think that is one of the greatest encouragements I ever received for that is precisely the tone and balance we were trying to achieve.
I’m not precious about our blog: there are lots of ways we can get this kind of encouragement, of course. But encouragement we do need. And we need to be those who encourage others too. And whether it’s a note, an email or a text message, the state of preaching would be much healthier if those of us called to this task gave at least some of our time and energy to helping fellow servants.
What could you do today?
Two Christmas books
As (in ministry terms at least) Christmas gets nearer very quickly, our thoughts soon turn to evangelistic resources, and rightly so. There are lots of good ones and those of us in church leadership should be praying and planning for how we make the most of this golden opportunity.
But it’s not only a good time to reach unbelievers. Christmas is also a good time to exhort and encourage believers. And I’ve recently read two books that will do just that. The first is by Willie Philip and is called “Song for a Saviour’s birth.” It’s not out until end October, but it’s worth putting on pre-order. It’s a classic set of five sermons working through the songs in Luke’s gospel. Each is (or was) a sermon, I guess, so you can imagine the sort of thing. It’s clear, careful and heart-warming.
Slightly different is Tim Chester’s new advent book. Called “The One True Story” it is a series of advent devotionals numbered – surprise, surprise – one through twenty-four (like a proper advent candle, there is no twenty-five). I read this in the summer, as far from Christmas as you can possibly get, and it stirred my heart greatly. We shall use it in our family devotions this year, and I encourage you to do the same – and get your church reading it too. The idea behind the book is to trace through Bible themes as they are fulfilled in Christ, some obvious (the anointed one, the suffering servant) some less so (the new ark, the whisper). So, and here’s the clever part, as you read you are not only being encouraged with Christ, you’re learning biblical theology and how to read the whole Bible well. For that reason alone, we leaders should be encouraging our people to read it.
Christmas is not just for unbelievers.
Valley of Vision
It’s getting near Sunday. So, a dose of the preachers’ prayer is not amiss! However, I can’t reproduce it due to copyright restrictions. That’s sad, but you can follow the link or buy the book. Many of these ‘prayers’ are not prayers, of course, but were turned into prayers from the writings of various puritans by Arthur Bennett. Someone said to me recently, “I wish there were a footnoted version” – but there isn’t, and that’s in part, at least, because they are composites. You won’t find these precise prayers in the writings of the Puritans.
That’s not to say that the book is less helpful for it. No, not at all. And in fact, given that they are not verbatim prayers for the most part, I would love a gently modernised version that I could use in church. For there is a depth and breadth here that is sadly lacking in much of our public praying. It is perhaps churlish to keep asking this question but I do wonder how much of our public praying would be of the profundity that would make it into such a collection. And why not?
Of course, we want our public praying to be simple. We want it to be accessible so people can genuinely say “Amen”, but where’s the depth? Where’s the breadth? Where’s the deep doctrine? Most often, sadly lacking.