Last year Fran and I were at Westpoint for the first time as newcomers to Hope Church.
This year it felt like we were going as family – a lot has happened in a year!
First things first – if an army marches on its stomach – then the magnificent serving of the Oliver’s Battery Community Group and others must be mentioned in dispatches! Speaking as non-campers, (it really is an option if you don’t do camping!) we didn’t make in time for the breakfasts, but good food, served cheerfully, in the communal marquee every evening was a great opportunity to sit and chat. Around the campsite, catching up with folk over a coffee in a less hurried environment was great.
As ever with these things you can’t do everything, so there were some difficult choices to make.
For sure there was plenty of challenging preaching, many God encounters and a few ‘I was there’, spine-tingling moments. Overall I was left with a sense that God had brought us as a family of churches in Commission to a significant turning point and given us a real sense of momentum.
Phil Moore is a name I recognised from reading some of his books – hearing him was something else! He was outstanding with his preaching on Jonah – very relevant, very challenging – and definitely not the normal Sunday school story take! Listen to it online if you dare!
As for Mark Jobe, well I’d never heard of him – but I have now! If you need your faith stirring into action, if you’re feeling a bit stuck, then this is one you need to hear. I felt God speaking to me very specifically when Mark preached on Elisha and the widow’s jar of oil (2 Kings 4:1-7) – saying it’s time to prepare empty jars ready for God to fill!
Guy Miller cast the over-arching vision that pulled it all together. The offering of around £600,000 was amazing – not so much for the amount given, but for the sense of God at work in hearts that prompted it. The final night was moving and unforgettable, seeing the calling out of a ‘third generation’ for God. Thinking of it still gives me goose bumps! And I haven’t even mentioned the seminars…
Of course, it all needs to be translated into everyday church life…We’ll work on that and, hopefully, you will see it over the coming months. In the meantime I encourage you to catch up online – in the comfort of your own sofa – no camping required! And, of course, there’s always next year…
By Jonathan Lloyd