Last month Wendy and I returned from a five-week overseas trip, which I thought it would be good to report.
We started in Athens, Greece, where we gathered the leaders of the various Newfrontiers teams now scattered throughout the nations. Virtually all the team leaders and their wives were present from the hundreds of locations that we now serve internationally.
We so enjoyed the opportunity for fellowship in prayer, worship, conversation over meals, and an outing to the magnificent Acropolis and Mars Hill, the location of the apostle Paul’s famous sermon recorded in Acts 17.
Sessions at the conference included testimonies from John Lanferman, Mike Betts, Vinu Paul and Steve Oliver on how guys were raising up new leaders as a priority for the future. David Devenish gave an excellent teaching on 2 Timothy pointing out that what is often called a “Pastoral epistle” is actually a letter specifically from an experienced apostle towards the end of his life to a young apostle, Timothy, highlighting essential priorities for the young apostle to carefully embrace in his ministry. Superb teaching!
Stephen van Rhyn from Cape Town spoke penetratingly on the importance of leaders guarding their marriages against the backdrop of demanding ministry life which often includes being stretched geographically, with travel and diverse responsibilities. A searching and important theme.
What was hugely evident was the mutual love, care and genuine sharing of a common passion for the glory of Christ and a heartfelt desire for the success of every sphere of ministry represented in the room. There was no sign of disinterest in other people’s battles but wholehearted unity of purpose and genuine affection.
Although we became acquainted with the challenges being faced in many locations, we were thrilled to witness the vitality pumping through the various spheres around the world.
On to India
As we scattered to our various home bases, Wendy and I travelled via Dubai to Bangalore, India, where our first stop was with the irrepressible Rambabu, our dear friend of many years. He is a phenomenally gifted evangelist who now lives in Bangalore and under three years ago started a church which now gathers many hundreds. They have just completed a building which seats 2000 people. His son Ankit has constructed a TV studio and their gospel impact is extraordinary!
It was a great joy to preach to vast crowds on the Saturday and Sunday and then to a large group of leaders on the Monday. The people’s warmth and zeal for God was so impressive and attractive.
Ram Babu’s prophetic gift enabled him to identify people by name scattered through the congregation and speak with detail into their lives in a phenomenal way demonstrating for all to see the reality that God was very present in the midst of his people. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with them and were so encouraged by their response to what we had to say.
Our next stop was with all of our Newfrontiers leaders also gathered in Bangalore which I will report in my next blog.