For 3 days last week, a number of the elders, deacons and FPers from Emmanuel travelled to Hull for the annual Regions Beyond National Hub conference. Meeting with just under 100 other Regions Beyond leaders from across the country, we spent time together connecting as a family and hearing more about God’s exciting vision for us as a movement of churches.
Starting each day with a period of extended worship, the conference was an opportunity to hear testimonies of what God has been doing recently within the UK (and worldwide), through Regions Beyond. There were both encouraging stories of God breaking through in areas (including hearing about the great work of Jubilee Church in Hull), but also accounts of more challenging situations – which we were able to spend time praying into as one body. Our very own Alan Bell and Ali Scott were given the opportunity on the Thursday morning to share on The North, describing not only the ways we have seen God move over the past 12 months in our region (particularly in the planting of our Chester-Le-Street congregation, and everything that has flown from it), but also the vision of Emmanuel reaching out into “The Land to the East” in the future – for which time was also devoted to in prayer.
In addition to this, there was also lots of teaching from Steve Oliver during the week, based primarily on a prayer written by A.W Tozer in the build up to his ordination. Through this striking prayer, Steve felt that God is calling us to rise up as radical leaders in Regions Beyond – both within church, and in the wider world, and we spent time exploring what this could look like practically. Trevor Payne also shared enthusiastically with us on the topic of church planting, and God’s call on us for this.
The sessions during the day were also interspersed with times of fellowship in the evenings, including a fabulous meal cooked for us by members of Jubilee Church on the Tuesday night. This was a great evening during which we were able to share food and our lives with members of our wider church family, reflecting our unity in Christ. On Wednesday night, we then joined members of Jubilee Church in their celebration service, where Daniel McLeod shared powerfully on 1 Peter 2:4-5 and the wider theme of God’s dwelling place throughout the bible.
On Thursday morning, we also took up an offering for the work of Regions Beyond – both at home and abroad. Amazingly, the initial total received through this was just over £50,000, which far surpassed the £35,000 or so we were aiming to raise. This was a great way to end the week, as we joyfully sowed into God’s work and were able to celebrate in his provision for us.
We returned to Durham on Thursday afternoon feeling really encouraged therefore. The week was once again a great reminder of the strong unity we have within Regions Beyond, and we had also been filled afresh with a new excitement over God’s plan for us, both individually and collectively as a church body.
Here are 3 testimonies from the week:
- Hannah Pereira - “The conference left me thanking God for all the gospel advances taking place around the nations, and for leaders growing in spiritual stature and Godly maturity. It's exciting being part of a movement that champion one another, and encourage the next generation of disciples to take on everything God has in store for them.”
- John Oliver - “I think I mostly found the togetherness of regions beyond to be encouraging.”
- Micah Cox - “For a long time, I’ve felt a part of Emmanuel church, but this was the first time that I’ve really felt like a part of Regions Beyond as well. It was great to meet others from churches around the country, and to hear more about the visions/values of our movement. God has got a lot in store for us!”