Recently some of our elders and staff travelled to Dubai for the Regions Beyond conference The Hub.
John Oliver, our fantastic students and 20s worker, reports...
Regions Beyond is a network of churches worldwide who act as family to see the world transformed by the love and power of Jesus, working through them. This is not just an administrative point, it is a relational one. We belong to them, we are part of their family, and they are part of ours.
Like other conferences I have attended, The Hub featured some remarkable teaching. But, more significantly for me, there was a sense of worldwide community I had never felt before on that scale.
Two things stand out for me: In one of the sessions we spent almost an hour hearing from couples and individuals about what God was doing in their country. As they walked on to the stage, one after the other, each carrying their own flags, it became obvious just how wide this family was. Representatives from various church in South Africa, India, the UK, Philippines, Lesotho, Ethiopia, USA, Mauritius, Pakistan, Holland, Galilee, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and the UAE, to mention a few. Each spoke of how they were outworking the Great Commission in their location. Some churches mentioned were in their hundreds, some had only 12. It was truly a remarkable time.
Secondly, a large amount of time was given to worship. I lost count of how many different languages we sang in (or in my case, attempted to sing in) over the week, but let's just to say that it kept you on your toes. A large emphasis was placed on Jesus, coming before His thrown and encountering Him as a person. As I looked around the room I couldn't help but be reminded of scenes from Revelation where the nations worship before the throne of God. To see people from such a diverse range of cultures and contexts, all coming together, one in Christ, was (in a number of ways) out of this world. What a joy it is to be part of His family.