Pete Atkins, leader of Threshold in rural Lincolnshire, summarises his thoughts about the FX Rural Conference, “What do you see?” held in May 2019.
In many ways I felt this was the best rural fx conference yet.
The content – especially stories and workshops – stories were highly illustrative of the direction we need the rural church to travel in and workshops highly relevant to most participants.
There was strong sense of unity, purpose and hope for the transformation of rural UK.
A tangible maturing of the hearts and minds of the participants re the need to reimagine rural mission and church. In relation to church: a move towards just doing life in God together: more relational, less structural with contextual shaping. In relation to mission: more incarnational cf attractional, reciprocal relationships not host/guest where we are always the host/provider, humility, experimental, willingness to fail. More or less uncontested agreement that God is leading us into Fx and pioneering as part of His plans and purposes.
It was great to have with us and hear from out international visitors and they really appreciated being with us.
It was so very useful affirmation and challenge from George Lings, who spent time as observer of the Conference.
There was a clear challenge was around the paucity of the words evangelism and Jesus in our language/presentations.
Pete says “I was particularly struck by the unanimity across the gathering with regard to our dream, mission, values and strategic direction as expressed on the summary paper of our strategy. I think the three interconnected strands of prayer, network and leaders made sense particularly to strategists – whether at Deanery/similar regional level. I would say most them wholeheartedly have bought into these and are already pursuing them or adjusting life to do so.
I felt I should express again my sense of a second wave coming – seeing the last fifteen years as the first wave and now expecting something much broader, deeper and rooted in the life of the church.”
(Below is a photo of the prayer wall from the event, showing the sorts of subjects which were discussed.)