EMA 2017: Booking now open
I hope I have whetted your appetite for the EMA. It’s never too early to put the date in your diary for 2017. Next year’s conference runs 27-29 June and we’ll be joined by Kevin DeYoung, Denesh Divyanathan, Andy Gemmill, Vaughan Roberts, Graham Beynon and Garry Williams. It’s also the 500th year since old Martin posted his 95 whatnots on the church notice board, so expect there to be some focus on that alongside our main theme which is Bearing Fruit and Growing: Preaching and the Mission of the Church. Booking is open now, but even if you don’t book right at this moment, save the date, as they say. Our diaries soon fill up and the nearer we get to deadlines the harder it is to carve out time to make them. So why not carve out the time now?
Praising God for Alec Motyer
We were sad to learn of the passing to glory of Alec Motyer a couple of weeks back. Alec was a good friend to us at PT and a personal mentor to David Jackman who was so instrumental in the formation of the Trust. Indeed, if you have ever heard David on Isaiah, you’ve heard Alec. “Everything I learnt about Isaiah, I learnt from him”, David used to say.
He also spoke for us at conferences and helped out with various things around the place. I sometimes tried to coax him out of retirement and he would always courteously decline with a polite but twinkling letter. His replies are the only ones I ever kept for any time. You could almost hear his chuckle as he typed out the words.
He will be sadly missed, but his life and ministry were a great example to us all, not least in the love and care he showed for his people, his students and his family. Thank you Lord, for Alec.
Lucas at the EMA
I managed to persuade Dick Lucas to come out of his self-enforced EMA retirement for one last hurrah. This is classic Dick, some real gold delivered in his own inimitable style. And, of course, he wore a tie.
Pastoral complexity and a dose of realism
Mrs R and I got to enjoy a film night recently: Eye in the Sky starring Helen Mirren and the late Alan Rickman (and a host of other well known stars). It was a compelling film, based on the moral decision to send a missile from a drone to destroy three terrorists and two suicide bombers.
The film was exciting, tense and thought-provoking, though not without its flaws. Key amongst these was the switch in moral dilemma. Towards the beginning of the film, the issue at stake was whether the British government should be killing two British citizens without trial, a kind of Judge Dread scenario. This is an interesting line of thought and needed to be developed more.
However, once a young girl sets up stall next to the targeted compound the moral issue switches to whether her possible death is acceptable collateral damage. You’ll have to watch the film to see how it pans out.
The film simplified things, focusing for the main part on the second issue. But for me the first issue is just as troubling and needs some more assessment. It interested me that the movie was only really able to deal with one moral issue at a time. Presumably that makes for a good script (or is all we audiences can cope with)?
However, in the real work, complexity is the norm. We find this pastoring. In the classroom, pastoral ethics on, say, marriage, seem very straightfoward. But in the real world, where there are kids and multiple layers, things are much messier. The classroom rarely prepares us for the real complexity of life.
But we must not stick our heads in the sand. Part of preparation for ministry has to be determininng a settled position on what we do with competing ethical choices and whether we take a graded view (where we choose the lesser of two evils) or whether we view life more in terms of absolutes. Once the situations are upon us, it’s generally too late to make a choice.
For, as the film does aptly portray, decisions made in split second are very often not the best ones.
Carson at the EMA
Don Carson is a good friend of PT and has served us well in the past, but amazingly it was 2009 that he last came to speak at the EMA. It was a joy to have him back with two typically forthright and helpful sessions on a biblical theology of perseverance.
John Newton and perseverance in ministry
Vaughan’s pen portraits are becoming something of a regular feature of the EMA (though we’re switching to another expert next year for a take on Luther in the Reformation 500th year). This year’s Newton bio was top of the class. Make yourself a coffee, watch (or listen) and be encouraged to persevere.
Some [personal] staff news
Here’s our latest staff announcement which has a particularly personal angle, as you will see.
The Trustees of The Proclamation Trust (PT) today announce that Adrian Reynolds, Director of Ministry for the Trust since 2009, will be leaving his post at Easter 2017 to take up a role as Training Director for the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC).
Adrian and his wife Celia, together with their family, moved to London from Hampshire to serve the Trust.
In his time at PT Adrian has delivered and taught on over 100 conferences, including overseeing the move of the Evangelical Ministry Assembly from its historic location at St Helen, Bishopsgate to its new home at the Barbican Centre in London. He has also been responsible for our book editing, writing two volumes himself and editing a further ten. Adrian has been a regular teacher on the PT Cornhill training course and has, along with Celia his wife, tutored many of the students. Adrian has also overseen our backroom work in the office, drawing on his previous experience in the business sector.
The Trustees want to express their sincere thanks to Adrian for his contribution to the ongoing ministry of the Trust. Vaughan Roberts, Chairman-Elect, said, “We are hugely grateful to Adrian for his enormous contribution to the work of the Proclamation Trust over the last seven years, and also to Celia for helping in so many ways. Adrian’s servant leadership, faithful teaching, administrative skills and godly example have been greatly appreciated by the whole PT family.”
Adrian’s new role – which does not begin until Easter 2017 – will be to oversee the training ministry of the FIEC. The FIEC is a family of over 500 independent churches located throughout the United Kingdom. He will be working alongside the existing Directors and training providers to serve local churches as they seek to train and equip men and women for ministry.
Please pray for Adrian & Celia and their daughter Isabel as they plan for this move. Roberts asked: “Please also pray for the trustees and staff at the Trust as we make plans for the future and seek to build on Adrian’s superb work.”
EMA audio and video now online
You may have noticed this already, but all our audio and video from the EMA 2016: Leaders who last is now up and online. Over the next couple of weeks I want to highlight some of the, well, highlights. It’s all accessible through the website, and all worth some of your time. I particularly enjoyed Simon Manchester’s morning expositions from Exodus 34, 1 Kings 19 and Mark 6. For me, this middle one was the stand out.
Here we go again… and three old friends back again
I know it’s still August, but we’re back. In the UK we’ve had a bank holiday (public holiday) so today is the first working day of the autumn/winter (gulp!) stretch. Hard to write when the sun is shining and Miss R is still to go back to school. But for the most part, it’s business as usual. Praying. Reading. Studying. Preaching. Pastoring.
Don’t you ever get bored of it, someone once asked me? Simple answer: no. I get tired sometimes, but not of the task. I am often wearied by the hard-hearted response that ministering seems to bring. But my heart is always livened by three ministry truths, old friends really.
1. Jesus has saved me by grace. My ministry work is not going to make a jot of difference to my salvation. Of course, I have to work hard, and I have to work out my salvation – and that will sometimes be wearisome for all kinds of reasons. But I am not – thank God – working for my salvation.
2. It is Jesus’ church and not mine. Caught up in the business of ministry, it’s easy to forget that I’m nothing more than an under-shepherd serving the great Shepherd of the sheep. It’s his church. I am – at best – a caretaker. When people reject the word they are rejecting him. When people flourish under ministry they are flourishing under Christ. Not me.
3. Jesus sustains all things by his powerful hand. I serve and love an absolutely sovereign God. Nothing I experience or manage to achieve is outside of his loving control. That does not make everything easy, but ultimately it makes everything right.
Three old friends; three old truths that always sustain me in ministry, whatever the season.
My brother used to work in an electronics factory that had a summer shutdown. Everyone took two weeks off at the same time. That was the way it worked. Frankly, it’s not dissimilar to PT Towers. Things quieten down considerably over the summer as we recover from Cornhill and conferences. We all need a break. In order to keep the blog fresh, that means a summer shutdown, starting today. There’s lots to go back over, lots to catch up with (particularly on the resources tab), and lots of other people to read. So go on, take a break. We are.
See you in the autumn.