Revisiting conference notes

A conference should be like a creative workshop. There is, of course, always the possibility of just enjoying the moment there and then. Hearing inspired talks has its value even if they will soon be forgotten. Engaging in worship that lifts your soul to a moment of holy God-presence has more to it than just being nice. However, I benefit more if my attitude is of an active listener, expecting God to involve me. He adds to my knowledge, expands my scope of faith and increases my understanding of what it looks like when his Kingdom is light, salt and yeast in our society.

I know that my ability to remember what people say is limited, but I had forgotten that (!), so the first plenum speech on Evangelism had finished before I started to take notes. Fortunately, the main sessions are all available at Videostream.

Now, a few months after the Dynamission conference in Berlin, it is interesting to look back at the notes I made. Some make me remember what I heard and some speak to me again. I will share some notes (not exact quotes) here. When you read them, God will probably make you think of something different from what I thought. Because that is how it works when we live in the workshop of the Creator.

Where love is, there is the beauty of God. Everything that has love has a future.

It is more important to listen to the Spirit than to get on with our activities. If a church does not hear the Spirit, how will it be led?

God did not just reconcile the believer to himself. He reconciled the Cosmos. We see a world where God is already at work. (2 Cor. 5:19)

Ruth Padilla DeBorst

Ruth Padilla DeBorst’s talk made an impact on me. I wrote some reflections about this in my blog post Beyond Dynamissio. Here is some of what I wrote:

In theory, I am all for Jesus coming to the poor, the prisoners, the blind and oppressed, but what do I and the established Christian fellowship really long for, pay attention to and dream about?

We want our meeting halls and churches filled with people, we want new soldiers and members and followers of Jesus. We pray for leaders and generous supporters. Yes, the truth is that our hopes and expectations are that God will move in this country and keep our organisation, our church going and growing. Bless us! Come to us!

Ruth Padilla DeBorst said that Jesus came to go beyond human expectations and desire for comfort. “Life can only be enjoyed by sharing, not hoarding or consuming.”

If I reflect on the language that we sometimes use in The Salvation Army today, we often have a tendency to talk about expecting more and better things from God for ourselves. That might not be completely wrong, as such, but the proclamation in Nazareth reminds us that FIRST we should share hope, life and freedom in Jesus with all those who are going without these things.

“We shall not save the world. Jesus has already done that. We need to be saved from a world of overabundance and self-reliance.” This quote from her talk summarises that we can trust God to build his Church as we go with his revolutionary love and grace to where it is needed.

This text has been published in Heilsarmee magazin #7 2017 

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