MINISTERS FULLY ENGAGE WITH JESUS' MOTIVE: SALT AND LIGHT

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MINISTERS FULLY ENGAGE WITH JESUS' MOTIVE: SALT AND LIGHT

You may note an extra-large smile on your pastor's face this Sabbath. You may also notice a little more spring in the step and energy in the preaching. The reason, pastors and Bible workers from across the UK and Ireland have just returned from three days at a very different Ministerial Council.

You may note an extra-large smile on your pastor's face this Sabbath. You may also notice a little more spring in the step and energy in the preaching. The reason, pastors and Bible workers from across the UK and Ireland have just returned from three days at a very different Ministerial Council.

DSC_3745_0112While they were energised by two excellent overseas speakers, what really caught the imagination of the entire workforce was a series of reports from various churches and groups that find themselves to be 'salt and light' in their communities. Feeding programmes, planting a community based ministry in a small village, running a centre that reduced local crime by 42%, or even joining in with the community to find yourself studying the Book of Romans with a group of nuns, all these then led to more sharing, ideas, and thoughts on how each local church, allowing for its own strengths and focus, can be a centre of excellence in its own community.

Ministerial-council-2-_0208Those who presented the various projects found themselves surrounded by questioning pastors during breaks and through meal times. This was not just sitting through theory and lectures. These were practical ideas that could be taken home.

Naturally there were lectures. While the speakers came from opposite ends of the planet their themes nevertheless gelled into the salt and light motive of the three days, 18-20 February, that the minsters spent at the Hayes Conference Centre, Derbyshire.

DSC_3662_0050In a bold but unusual move, the British Union Conference, organisers of the event, brought in a Communication and PR expert as one of the key speakers. Pastor Garrett Caldwell, Associate Communication director at Adventist world Church headquarters, shared how "We want to build bridges of relationship." If we do this, he stated, "We can then convey love and a picture of God."

This then led into three presentations that demonstrated how our PR presence, the language we speak, our perceived reputation in our communities, our behaviour and our performance, will all either build up or destroy God's reputation. Heads could be seen nodding as practical advice on PR, websites, corporate visual identity and much more challenged ministers to think about how their communities view their church. Practical ideas were given and shared on how to 'improve the view'.

e-Brendon-Pratt-Being-in-a-consumer-cultureComing from Australia, Pastor Brendon Pratt may have been jet lagged, but bounced in with enthusiasm as he shared practical answers on how to be a Christian in a consumerist society. While the mantra of the world is that 'Time = money = things = happiness', Brendon clearly showed that not only does this mantra fail, but that the antidote to it is community. The hyper-culture of desire generated by TV ads does not exist in reality, but building relationships with people, getting involved, relearning to cross-generational, turns us from empty consumerists seeking a new thrill, into the caring, fulfilled individuals that God intended us to be.

We could report on the exercise programmes (your minister may have a few stiff muscles), the late night fellowship, the excellent worship teams, or the positive, good-natured leadership of Pastor Llew Edwards who spearheaded the event, but the most important thing to report is the very many ministers who are all saying, "This is one of the best councils I have ever attended." "This council is making me feel good about my Church." "I can see new hope for the future of Adventism in the British Isles."

That is all that BUC President, Pastor Ian Sweeney hoped for. On Thursday morning he smilingly stated, "It was my hope that our pastors could be energised, encouraged and enthused about their ministry as they lead their congregations to be community influencers and changers as salt and light. I believe this has been accomplished."

A selection of photos from the BUC Ministerial Council can be seen on the Adventist Church picture gallery. A transcript of Pastor Sweeney's keynote address, 'Salt & Light' is available on the President's page.

Watch the One Project (Newcastle, Australia) version of Pastor Pratt's first presentation here
Pastor Pratt's second presentation is available here.

Contact: Victor Hulbert

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