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Mission ready for big challenges

Elim’s first online theological conference examined how our understanding of the ‘End Times’ shapes our view of mission.

Elim recently announced that we would be advancing into a decade of mission, keeping disciple-making, leadership training, church planting, and reaching nations as our top priority.

But who would have imagined a global pandemic would significantly change the landscape we now find ourselves in?

Many have been faced with the stark reality of life and death, others with providing care and support to the vulnerable. In addition, we, as the Christian community, have had to re-imagine church beyond the physical gathering. 

February 2021 provided an opportunity for over 350 leaders from across the Movement to gather for our first online Theological Conference entitled ‘MISSION READY’; to hear from a range of speakers and engage in dialogue around how we can reshape our mission in this radically changing landscape.

The online format allowed for input from a range of speakers from across the UK and internationally, enjoyed by many from the comfort of their own home. There was also input from Regents Faculty Team helping participants in exploring how our understanding of the ‘End Times’ shapes our view of mission.

Delegates were challenged by Malcolm Duncan as to how the pastor should be a public witness beyond the church walls as an agent of transformation in society.

Naomi Nelson, co-host for the event said, "I was particularly challenged by the call to develop a healthy eco-theology in our mission; the issue of stewardship and creation care can no longer be ignored by the church."

One of the standout messages came from Tod Bolsinger, as he sought to help Mission Ready leaders build resilience to navigate the unpredictable terrain ahead. He stated: "Great adaptive leaders use the urgency of the moment to see what we need to face up to in order to thrive."

Tod encouraged leaders to surround themselves with a host of support to enable them to be courageous and committed to addressing the underlying issues in their ministry and organisations which this crisis had identified. He concluded with a reminder: "The more daunting the task, the stronger our relationships should be."

Dave Newton, Elim’s Director of Training and Principal of Regents Theological College said, "We must fight hard against the natural tide of the pandemic which has led so many leaders to retreat, feel isolated and afraid at this time. Instead, this season demands a united movement-wide confidence in the Good News of Jesus."

The event did not only offer expert insight on some key issues but provided a place for leaders to discuss and interact on many of the topics addressed. Hundreds of ministers used the now-familiar digital discussion platforms to enable robust dialogue to further their theological, pastoral or personal perspectives.

Moving forward, many of the talks are now available for wider viewing on the Elim  YouTube channel at elim.org.uk/youtube, and the theme Mission Ready continued at the Elim Leaders Summit in June 2021.

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