Jen and I went to the Pastoral Refreshment conference just over a week ago, organised by the Living Leadership team. The aim of the event is to provide an environment for churh leaders to be refreshed in the Lord, rather than being trained or motivated or equipped with new techniques.
The headline speaker was Terry Virgo from New Frontiers International. He’s an inspirational speaker, and I particularly appreciated some of the enriching insights he gave into scripture. For example, in one session he looked at Jesus turning the water into wine in John 2 (a passage that’s close to our hearts because it was the one which Rico Tice preached on at our wedding!). He drew attention to Jesus’ command to the servants to fill the six purification jars with water, saying that it was ‘specific, unreasonable and required faith’… it would have been easy for the servants to argue the point with Jesus saying, “Jesus, it’s not the water that’s the problem, it’s the wine!”. The servants had to do it Jesus’ way – otherwise nothing would have happened.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of the conference was the welcome and hospitality, so that it was easy to mix and converse with other participants, however long they have been coming to the conference or have been in ministry. There was an atmosphere of humility which was most refreshing. Jen and I both felt that the relationships we’ve begun to develop this time might be of great value over the coming years.
On the Thursday afternoon, we had some free time, so we went to Rutland Water: Jen took the opportunity for a ten-mile run, while I went birdwatching! I’d heard that there were some smews, and was lucky enough to bump into a birdwatcher at the visitor centre, who directed me to Lagoon IV. As soon as I arrived in the hide, I opened one of the hatches – and there they were!