The Gift of your Fellowship
Only a few people are going to occupy the role of a speaker at Gafcon 2018, even though so many of the people there are the preachers and teachers of God’s Word, and all who attend would have a story to tell and an encouragement to give.
So, are the delegates simply going for their own benefit?
Not at all!
They are attending primarily because of the special gift which they will bring, the gift of fellowship. This is the ministry which each of us will exercise. And even if you are not there in person, your support for Gafcon also involves that gift.
And that is very precious indeed.
For the Jerusalem Conference is not merely a gathering of Christians. We are a movement, a movement which is about the future. It is Anglicans gathered to inspire and help each other with the great task of preaching the gospel to all nations. It represents the Anglican Communion, clergy and laity together, having communion for the sake of our world.
We meet to plan and to inspire and to resource each other.
If you are privileged to be in Jerusalem next year, you will be mixing with those who belong to the same Lord. But, apart from that, it is likely that the life experiences of Anglican Christians could hardly be more different. You will meet young and old, men and women, lay and ordained, people from all the continents, people who speak only one language and people who speak several languages, people whose daily life is precarious and those who never have to be anxious about food drink or shelter, those who are in danger of their lives – indeed those who have suffered in their bodies for Christ.
Not least you will be rubbing shoulders with a number of people who have made the costly decision to leave their original denomination because it had clearly fallen into error large enough to imperil souls. Your fellowship as a fellow Anglican who believes the truth of the Biblical faith despite the pressure of this world, is of great value to them. It tells them that they are not alone, and that they have not been foolish to pay the price. And it will be a transformative experience for you.
We are all engaged in a mighty spiritual contest for the sake of Christ and the gospel. Far from quietening down, it has become tougher as the world has lost touch with the truth of God’s word and the church has so evidently followed suit. Far from the leaders showing the way by identifying sin as sin and by showing why sin is actually bad for us and that the way of God is for our good, the leadership has been mute at best, or has even failed the crucial test and spoken with the language of the world.
This has left the ordinary Christian, the parents, the workers, the retired people, without cover. If they wish to speak for the Bible they do so without the encouragement and cover that Christian leadership should give. The gospel which summons us to repentance and submission to the Son of God is being lost.
By its very existence, GAFCON 2018 is going to be mighty testimony to the truth. The fellowship we enjoy in Jerusalem is going to spill over to the millions of Anglican Christians around the world who are looking to see a clear and bold articulation of the gospel message, the authority of the Bible and the importance of the Church which is founded on the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, with Christ Jesus as its cornerstone. Our world-wide fellowship of Anglicans is capable of so much good for the cause of Christ if we are faithful to his word.
So this is more than merely another conference. The program is designed to reiterate the full gospel, to inform us about gospel needs, to equip us to share, to commit to the big strategy of renewal and evangelism and to resource each other. But fellowship is at its heart. As usual at GAFCON, the delegates will help shape the results and the aim is to make friendships and networks which will mean that across the world Anglicans will be helping each other fulfil the great Commission.
The magnificent results of the costly efforts of past generations need to be built on and expanded. We are, after all, a Future Conference!
I remember that in GAFCON in Nairobi, the whole conference made a decision to set up a missionary society in England to help the English Christians evangelise in one of the most difficult places in the world. As a result, we now have 14 churches in the fellowship of the Anglican Mission in England and a missionary Bishop as well. This illustrates so well that our message, our hope and our prayer is to lead the nations to God. This is the beating heart of our movement.
You may not have the privilege of personally coming to Jerusalem, but you will be blessed by what happens there. Please help us to make sure that delegates who cannot pay their own way are able to come by generously donating to the bursary fund. And please pray for us, that we may be God’s instrument in his mighty salvation work. We are looking to God for the renewal of the Anglican Communion by the power of the Holy Spirit so that we may help reach a lost world.
Will you join us?