Logo

 

Banner Image:   National-News-banner-Purple
Template Mode:   Baptist Times
Icon
    Post     Tweet

'God was speaking deeply into their lives' 

Sandra Crawford was not alone in experiencing a renewal of God's call on her life at the annual Fresh Streams conference

FreshStmsMasterLogocream

I have attended the Fresh Streams Conference numerous times over the past years and each time it has been a place where I’ve heard God’s voice and a renewal of God’s call on my life. For me Fresh Streams has always been my space to spend time with God, so it was with some fear and trepidation that I invited the Leadership Team from the church I pastor in Leyland and my co-pastor from Wigan to come with me.

However sharing this space over the past couple of years with my fellow leaders has brought a very special dynamic as we seek God’s face both individually and also as a team. The whole process of travelling together, spending time together without an agenda, laughing together, eating together and worshipping together has been hugely worthwhile.

This year the theme of Living A Kingdom Prophetic Lifestyle was unpacked by Paul Manwaring, Cath Livesey and Mark Elder, with worship led by Pete James. 

The usual mix of worship, teaching, and seminars, which you would expect from a conference, was brilliantly interspersed with times of praying for one another, space for churches to meet with and pray for other churches, praying prophetically over one another, listening for God’s voice, sharing what we thought we heard God say.  
 


On the last morning there was space in the programme to stop and reflect, to rest in God’s presence and worship, a room set aside for writing a journal, and a quiet space just to ‘be’.

Watching my fellow leaders step out in faith (and some with considerable fear and trembling) to pray for people they didn’t know, praying into situations, and speaking out God’s word, was exciting, and a privilege to be a part of. Hearing people speak prophetic words over them was also amazing, knowing that God was speaking deeply into their lives and circumstances.

I have to confess to not being at ease with all I heard and experienced, but that created healthy times of discussion and debate, wrestling  together with Scripture over a glass of wine or two late into the evening.

On the journey home I asked the people in my car what the highlight of the three days had been. These were wide and varied:
 
  • hearing the development of the story of the Renew Cafés, a seed of an idea a year ago which is now blossoming all over the country
  • the story of the church in North Korea and the enormity of the problems for those believers from Eddie Lyle, Open Doors
  • the seminar about engagement with transgender people and gender diversity. As a youth worker I thought I had a handle on this, but the speaker Natalie Collins blew my mind. Oh how the church needs to wrestle with how we engage with this.
  • Mark Elder’s willingness to be honest and vulnerable about the challenges of church leadership 

 
For me personally this year God reminded me of two things:

  • Firstly the call of God on my life to believe in and love his church. As someone with an evangelist's heart, loving the people outside the church I find easy, but loving the church I don’t always find quite so easy.
  • Secondly, the call of God to live my story, to be the person he has created me to be, not to be a copy of someone else.

 
With more than 380 delegates attending the three days, the opportunity to catch up with friends from all over the country and to make new friends is always a blessing. Thanks to the Fresh Streams Leadership Team for the superb organisation.  

So, what are you doing 14-16 Jan 2019? Come and be part of the Fresh Streams National Leadership Conference with Miriam Swaffield, Gerard and Chrissie Kelly, Chris Sayburn and others. Hope to see you there.


Sandra Crawford, Pastor Leyland Baptist Church and Wigan Baptist Church

 

Find out more about Fresh Streams here.

Fresh Streams is running a Theology School 14-15 June at St Peter's Baptist Church, Worcester. Speakers include Dr Kate Coleman, Chris Duffett, Dr Mark Bonnington and Stephen Lindridge 

 
 

Baptist Times, 15/01/2018
    Post     Tweet
Christian charity Linking Lives UK challenging people to spend 24 hours in isolation, having no contact with the outside world
The meeting considered what actions might follow from this summer’s BWA Resolution: Recognising and affirming the calling of women in the church
With a contemporary new look and feel, the website has been designed to enable people to find the information that they’re looking for more quickly
Leading scholar in the field of Black Theology will be the new Director of the Oxford Centre for Religion and Culture at Regent’s Park College, Oxford
The fifteenth year of the Crucible course begins this autumn, with modules for the first time available in four different cities – London, Exeter, Manchester and Southampton
Church from Scratch in Southend has produced a new film to help churches reflect on and discuss sensitive issues around sexuality
     Latest News 
    Posted: 10/07/2019
    Posted: 25/06/2019
    Posted: 07/06/2019
    Posted: 22/05/2019
    Posted: 19/05/2019