Over 200 church elders from across the South England Conference (SEC), congregated at De Vere Beaumont Estate in Windsor, Berkshire, to listen, learn and gain spiritual upliftment as key cogs in the evangelism wheels in the SEC.
The Ministerial Association Secretary − Pastor Samuel Ouadjo warmly welcomed everybody to the retreat. The speakers included the experienced and previous SEC and BUC President – Pastor Cecil Perry who led out in the opening evening and morning devotions, Dr Gifford Rhamie, who led the workshop on – Discipleship focusing on Biblical Studies to the British Postmodern Society, Pastor Michael Mbui – Discipleship focusing on Mission and Vision of the Church, Pastor Max McKenzie-Cook – Community Ministries Director and the SEC President Pastor Emmanuel Osei who cast the vision for the Conference for the next 4 years.
Vibrant song services and seasons of prayer, made the added the extra ingredient to the worship experience.
Pastor Perry’s devotional messages were punctuated with his personal testimonies, practical experiences of working for God but above all, encouraged all elders to be spiritual mentors in all their undertakings and leadership of God’s church. He made reference to the mission of the Church based on Matthew 28 – as directed by Jesus Christ to all his past, present and future followers. Sunday morning’s devotion was concluded with a sobering experience of the reluctant prophet Jonah and how God saved his life via the belly of a fish, so that he could take a message of salvation to Nineveh. He posed a personal question to all elders in attendance? “What is your belly of the fish experience” – God is still calling all co-workers with Him to go and preach the gospel message despite the seen and unseen dangers.
Pastor Osei in his casting of the new vision called for a paradigm shift in the way the church operates and interacts with its local community to remain relevant corporate church services have to be mixed with community impacting services and programmes to win souls for Christ. His presentation pulled together all the key messages from the 4 seminar topics.
He concluded by stating that staying in church for worship services is not enough to draw people in but that we have to go out and meet them where they are. He challenged the Elders to work with the Pastors, Local departmental Leaders and champion the ethos of “Making Disciples and Building Communities”.
The SEC Treasurer provided an overview picture of the church finances and some of the new processes and initiatives being considered to affirm governance arrangements internally and externally, through annual audits.
Some SEC Departmental Directors and Area Co-ordinators joined the SEC President for a panel Q&A session.
Elder Henry as Retreat Elder gave the charge encouraged and challenged Elders to model the character of Christ as they lead, encourage, visit and work in their various local churches.
It was an awesome weekend and the challenge is to keep the fire burning as we descended from the “mountain top to the valley of every day challenges”. Yes, we can and we will work for the Lord as long as we have life - was the commitment.