The last few days we have been enjoying Bronte countryside in South Yorks. staying with some friends in a farm cottage. Weather has been mixed, walks have been stretching and internet access has been very erratic. So....I've been quiet for a few days (though another writing commitment forced its way into my daily routine!)
Last week I spoke at a national day conference in Oxford organized by the Evangelical Alliance. It was entitled: 360degree preaching and leading...so I was given a huge amount of lee-way with the subject matter! It was limited to 45 attendees and proved to be extraordinary lively with plenty of interaction.
A couple of things stood out for me:
First, all kinds of evangelical church were represented from traditional C of E to house church, from urban plant to rural, both black and white, with a smattering of academics present too. You know it really livens things up when such a range of people are present.
Second, was the surprise and delight expressed by several that this was the first conference on preaching they had seen advertised for many (many) years. One attendee from Devon had to book his train ticket well-ahead and told me he was convinced the conference would probably be cancelled because of lack of interest. 'I've not seen a conference like this for years' he said. 'I had no idea all these people would come!' Of course, 45 is not that many but could it be that church leaders are waking up to the pivotal importance of preaching? How I hope so.
As you can imagine I was thrilled to take part. Actually I mentioned blogging several times...so maybe some of the attendees are even reading this!