Leadership Conference 2015 – Day Two Evening Session (RAH) 

So the final night of the HTB Leadership Conference is upon us. 

Christine Caine shares that we are a part of history – so many historical moments where we see God weaving a tapestry of hope to this world. We have witnessed a moment that forces us to respond to a call for church unity. 

Great to look back at the last 12 months of development in Alpha International. A global Alpha Initiative is planned with Bear Grylls heading up the campaign for 2016. Nicky Gumbel reminds us that Alpha is just a resource that helps us to talk with people about Jesus and introduce them to Him.

Joyce Meyer

Encourages us to listen to listen to other people – for then we may see the inner beauty that would otherwise be missed. 

Love: it is not a subject, it is a person. God is love. The conference theme is unity but we cannot have unity unless we have love. We need to stop theorising and begin practising. We are the ones that must make an effort to get along, it may not necessarily be easy but we must practice. Sometimes we live in a way were we have the Holy Spirit but the Holy Spirit does not have us. To be the impact that we need to be, we need to be more than churchgoers, we need to show Jesus in every part of our lives. 

There can be no unity without love because love covers over all offences. Denominational labels are not always helpful because there is not one label who has everything right. Love perseveres. Love starts at home. As a person with a lot of pain and brokenness, it was the word of God that changed everything. Being a person of excellence is very important, as being a person of integrity and keeping the strife (opposite of unity) out of your life. (cf psalm 133). We need to be behind the scenes what we are in front of other people. Love needs to be real, as is unity – they are not events – they are lifestyles.

Matthew 22:36-39 – God cares about everything in your life and he loves you unconditionally. God is love – you cannot do any more or any less to receive his love….he is love. People want unconditional love and the only place to receive it, is from God. We love God because he first loved us. When we receive Gods love and love him back, we need to learn to love ourselves. If you do not love yourself, you are in for a rough ride because wherever you go, there you are! The best gift you can give to those you love, is a healthy you. 

In 1 John 4:11-12 – if you want to see God, find love. Where love is, God abides. What would the world be like today if every Christian acted like one? There is nothing more important than us being people of love (cf ephesians 3:19). Love is not a feeling but a decision. (cf 1 cor 13) There are certain behaviours that do not look good on us as Christians. We may need to change.

When you have experienced something special, you can never be satisfied something lesser. Nothing good happens accidentally, it happens on purpose. cf Gal 6:10 – blessing the household of faith. We all have the ability to make peoples life better…that is love. Love helps needy people and it will be expensive, it will demand sacrifice. John 21:15-18 – feed my sheep, help somebody…..get the smell of sheep on you.  

We need love & this will involve forgiveness, we need to have a lifestyle of forgiveness. Forgiveness may happen in degrees and will be more than just a duty and may demand we keep showing forgiveness, even if their behaviour does not alter. God works through people and as partners with God, he wants to use us to bring healing and salvation as we demonstrate Christ and point people to him.

Acts 10:38 – we need to go around doing good. Everywhere we go, there is someone who’s life we can make better, if we will only look. We need to walk in love….we will need to trust. 

….and so it ends, see you at the HTB Leadership Conference 2017

Leadership Conference 2015 – Day Two Morning Session 2 (RAH) – Father Raniero Cantalamessa

Traditional hymns with the Royal Albert Hall organ for accompaniement, sets the scene for Father Raniero.

The joy of the gospel is with all of those who meet with Jesus Christ. We must re-embark on using this joy for the evangelisation of the world. At first, ‘repent and believe the gospel’ is not always received, at first, as good news. Repent means to ‘turn your mind around’ not to do penance. 

Be converted by believing – they are not different things but complementary. God has sent His son that we may receive adoption as sons. Salvation in many religions is through ascetic means, christianity does not tell them what they need to do to be saved but what God has done for them. Prior to the category of duty is the category of gift – grace. The gospel is a source of joy as it tells us of a God of grace, who gave his Son. The joy of the gospel is not an easy joy – it is especially for the poor and the needy. If it is good news, why is the christian faith perceived as one of pain and problem?  The perception is a negative one when it should be joy. We see the will of God as something that is displeasing or painful – God being the enemy of any joy or celebration. This is different to the image of God in the gospel and must be dealt with if we are to evangelise.

The Eastern Church is more positive whilst the western church is more negative. The theology and need of grace by Augustine and the western church has often been the church that has restricted grace. 

The secular western world has rejected christianity but we are beginning to see a momentous change, particularly the charismatic/pentecostal renewal across the world. It provides a different perception of the christian life, one of joy and celebration rather than pessimism. Joy in the Holy Spirit changes things as people are convicted of sin and move grace. Nobody has a monopoly on the Holy Spirit – as we yield to Him, the church lives and our actions show God. 

We have an opportunity to live in this new moment of grace. The greatest danger is from within, we need to demonstrate love (cf 1 Corinthians) with authentic love in Christ and living in the fruit of the Spirit. Holiness is vital. 

There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus……..

Unity amongst Christians is vital, especially as there is the 500yr anniversary of the Reformation (in 2017) – the church and the world have changed since then and we need to once again, centre everything on the person of Jesus. We preach Christ crucified or we preach Christ as Lord must be our refrain. 

We are called to proclaim the good news of the gospel. 

A renewal of dialogue is required. Raniero shares honestly about the conflict of preserving theological position compared to the unity we share in Christ as his children. If we are one in Christ we need to talk again and recognise not just the visible church but the invisible church. Christian constituencies are being brought together again by the Spirit of God. Our unity is based in the person of Jesus Christ – not on dogma or practice. Steps to unity will be found when believers, despite their differences, meet together around the person of Jesus.

Leadership Conference 2015 – Day Two Morning Session 1 (RAH) 

The morning session kicks off with some traditional choral worship before embarking on the usual worship central set, A new song was in the mix that could well be an anthem in the summer festivals and beyond.

Interview with Jo Malone

Despite a tough upbringing, with determination, all things are possible. Came to faith listening to Jackie Pullinger. Sometimes the thing that comes at you to destroy you, is the thing to make you. (reference to cancer). There are many things that I can’t do but I can create fragrances like nobody else in the world. Gone back to the thing that ‘I can do” – similarities with what Robert Madu said yesterday. When everything is stripped from you, does potential exist in you? Do you have the right to recreate yourself? Where do you start? Three things – passion, resilience and creativity. Its nobody elses responsibility to make your dreams happen – its yours!  (cf Jesse Owens story).

There is a need to surround yourself with the right people. Innovation comes from inspiration and this comes from the people that you surround yourself with. Everybody has moments where they are wrong and mess up – successful people are resilient and push through. Plan A changes from moment to moment and the failures help us – we need ears to listen to other people. 

Inspiration – Innovation – Integrity – Ignition – Instinct – the compass to successful business and life

Interview with Cardinal Vincent Nichols – joined by Archbishop Welby

a short introduction to his life and a recognition of God’s guidance in his life. Key moment when receiving a letter saying ‘keep your hand to the plough’ – no ide who the sender was, apart from the fact that he was a priest. Prayer is important but you must find a way and a place that suits you, be faithful in it and also try to be adventurous (different methodologies). What does it mean to be human? This is a challenging question that must be aligned with Christian faith – with the death and resurrection of Jesus. 

Key lessons in leadership: single most important thing is the quality of the relationships with those you work with. This is more important than the projects we are working on. Much of the leadership is currently with the clergy – greater similarity to family life than business life. Leadership exercise is a judgement on how far you can push someone without damaging the relationship. There needs to be a real bond between people in order to exercise leadership successfully within the catholic church. 

Pope Francis – wants Bishops to be men who ‘smell of the sheep’ – looking for people who will exercise leadership with an understanding of life – in the poor places, the marginalised groups. 

We learn a lot from failure – we can shy away from people who have failed, this is often a mistake, especially if they have learned from them. It is then that we can become wiser and stronger.

Justin Welby joined the interview; a high priority is for the Lords renewal of the Church and this will be done in prayer. In prayer we can be reminded of both unity and division. We need to see unity across our divisions in order that we may see Jesus honoured in our world. 

Between Justin and Vincent – there is an implicit trust with one another. There is real progress in seeing churches work together and the relationship is growing (eg the trafficking projects) because their is a ‘wind behind us and we are just setting the sails’. 

A deep commitment to human relationship, particularly the poor and those on the edge. 

Welby; The things that destroy peace are not the external events but the internal – divisions within the church. We destroy the peace of the church and its ability to be peacemaker when we fight one another. 

There is a need for people to see unity, it is visible symbols that will brek into the lives of people. We cripple our witness when we are not united, people need to see the church united, this is how we will see the world brought face to face with Jesus Christ. 

Leadership Conference 2015 – Day One Evening Session (RAH) – 

Father Cantalamessa – short interview

As Pope’s preacher – “it is easy as I just have to preach about Jesus.” Preparation is by getting on his knees and praying to Jesus. The role of the preacher is just to grasp a message and convey it to the listeners – to share the story of Jesus. Father Raniero currently lives in a very remote place – all he shares as a preacher is from Prayer and listening to the Lord. To deepen a relationship with Jesus, our self must diminish. The more we die to ourselves, the more Jesus can live in us. All his teaching is based on Jesus, looking at evangelism and living in the Holy Spirit.  Going back to the gospel in a simplistic way, we will see what God can do…..’I am convinced that the Christian faith is more alive than ever.’ This interview concluded with a declaration of Romans 10:9

A welcome from Bishop Richard Chartres

We are entering a future that is beyond denominations – a new church even begun in UCL. The Holy Spirit is at work configuring new ways of working together. Many Christians around the world are suffering for their faith but, in doing so, they give us a message to pray for them and are wanting us to advocate for them. We have a duty to remember those who suffer for the sake of Christ. When we remember Jesus in the present, we make up Hs body to transform the world. 

Robert Madu

The blood of Jesus who unites us is so much greater than all that seeks to divide us. There is a real need to give honour where honour is due. Mygeneration can see further because of the sacrifice of those that are older in this room

Hebrews 12:1-2 and 1 Samuel 18:5-9 – On their Mark

  • There is a race set before us and we are to keep our eyes on Jesus. Saul had taken his eyes to look at David. It is comical when we compare each other in the gym – not so funny when we compare with others in life. Who are you comparing your life with? Have you taken your eyes off Jesus? It is a dangerous game to compete with others – like being on a treadmill, it takes you nowhere. Comparison is the number one enemy of destiny, the thief of joy, a deadly game. Comparison will consistently cloud the call of God on your life. There is a call on your life – nobody else can do the thing that God called you to do…..there is a difference between a career and a calling. You have been called and God has given you everything you need to fulfill that calling. You have been created as a masterpiece, so stop complaining about the pieces that you do not have. All we have to do is to stay in your lane and keep your eyes on Jesus…..it sounds simple but it is so difficult in practice. 
  • We all have a universal destiny to become more like Jesus. We also have an individual destiny, to be unlike anybody else ever created. Find your lane and run your race as God intended. Saul was running his race but then took his eyes off God, put his eyes on David. Saul was more concerned with being the king than worshipping the King of Kings. David was a man who worshipped God and sought to honour God – cf story of Goliath. It was a destiny moment. When Saul heard the women singing, he started the downward track – saul killed his thousands and David his tens of thousands….Saul was jealous. He could not separate his own life from the life of David. The selfish attitude will blind you to Jesus and who He is….because your eyes are on the wrong person. If you can’t celebrate other peoples successes, rejoice in other peoples failings, bring conversation to yourself….you have the wrong attitude. Social media does not help….we are often contented until we see what others are doing. 
  • Comparison is so lethal that it will get into every area of your life. It will impact your finances, your spouse….fix your eyes on Jesus so that you can run your race. 
  • When you feel overwhelmed, remember who opened the door. God has given you the grace to run your race, you have to be the person that God created you to be. There is only one you – be you! Fix your eyes on Jesus.

Leadership Conference 2015 – Day One Morning Session 2.2 (RAH) – Ken Costa

Next up..…Ken Costa….

A passion for leadership is why the Leadership College, London has been created. Ken Costa is Dean of the College. Ken opens with the epitaph of William Wiberforce who ‘fixed the character of the time’. God is on the move and we are seeing a world where spirit filled believers are growing. The financial world is volatile, the world we live in at every level is leaving us with an uncertain future and there are many things that worry us, especially the failure for people to flourish. Many Christians continue to live, due to the burdens of modern life, as if Jesus is still dead. There is too much to live with and too little to live for.

The challenge for any leader to flounder or flourish…”what next?”

The unique selling proposition for Christians? 2 Timothy 2:8 – the unique good news of the gospel. Trust in Jesus Christ changes everything, gives a mainstay for the christian life….our work station should be our worship station.  

We learn to face the future by dealing with disappointment, failure and life. We need to take risks, in the power of God. We must be willing to dream dreams and be prepared to fail and to fail well. We must not linger in the problems but continue to dream, inspired by the Spirit of God. 

How can we be nourished ? – not through the continual consumption of information (cf. dreams of pharoah) but by feeding on God’s word, not with heads down (smartphone heads down generation) but by lifting up our heads. The Lord is strong and mighty and mighty in battle. the calling of this generation is not by age but by attitude. Is this the generation that will seek the Lord. cf. Psalm 24

We are establishing networks of leadership where leadership is needed, across all boundaries, united by the power of God by people who will work together. Societies are changed by anointed networks empowered by the living God. 

“I have seen a lion roar in the wild….only God and my dry cleaner knows how scared I was” Quote of the day from Ken Costa

What are you going to do about this? Whatever it takes! To see a generation empowered and released. To see a generation with their heads lifted high. Dare to dream big dreams.

Leadership Conference 2015 – Day One Morning Session 2.1 (RAH) – Joyce Meyer 

After some inspiring worship, its time for Joyce Meyer to be interviewed by Nicky Gumbel

A gentle introduction to Joyce and a reminder of the call to church unity. Meyer describes her’dysfunctional’ upbringing when she faced both abuse and rejection. A neighbour took her to church but a recognition at the age of 9 that she was in need of a saviour. She committed her life but recognised that she needed someone to be an example to her and someone else to walk alongside on that faith journey. 

“If you live with someone who is dysfunctionl, do not let them steal your joy. What they need is stability”

As leaders, we should not be trying to give people what is not working for us. We need to be doing behind closed doors, what we are doing on the platform. If you take the word and apply it to your everyday life, if you do your best to honour what God is saying, He will show the way. If God decides to anoint someone for something, it is going to work whatever anyone else says or does. 

As Meyer is sharing her testimony to God’s faithfulness, it is very apparent that the journey of faith in leadership is a hard grind, demands graft and will be misunderstood, but with perseverance, you know that there is no other path to take.

The higher someones profile, the greater the criticism people will give. As leaders, criticism still hurts and leaves you with rejection. Initially, it is most painful. There is a need for us all to be patient with one another. We all have the same problems, we just put different titles on it. A lot of criticism is based on jealousy, people like to criticise success, not because of who you are, but because of what you have. Meyer has discovered that whatever the enemy has sought to take away, God has given it back more abundantly.

John 10:10 – Jesus wants us to enjoy our lives, there are many miserable Christians but we should be happy as we have the light of the world within us. Meyer had to learn that work is not identity, we can have rest and fun. I can’t do what God wants me to do unless I learn to trust Him to help me to do it. God is our teacher and will give us the life that Jesus wanted us to have. 

In Christian leadership, we tend to replace spending time with God with working with God. If you want to be successful, you must learn how to seek God first. Time in God’s presence, first, is vital. Our time with God is not foremost to get a sermon first but to sort self out first. Being in ministry can take a lot out of you. It is important that we are vulnerable with people and we learn to accept that we are all different and that God did this on purpose. You can’t make evryone be a light, you have to find the right spot for them for them to flourish. Even in ministry, we can be selfish. The greatest thing we need to learn in the church today is love – and it will cost you something, it takes time. 

Leadership Conference 2015 – Day One Morning Session 1 (RAH)

The conference opens with a wonderful recognition of its international flavour singing ‘The Splendour of the KIng’ in different languages before entering with modern thumping anthems, ‘Happy Day’ and ‘The Way’. The worship sets the tone – this conference is first and foremost about Jesus. 

The 2 sites join together on a dodgy livelink that re-affirms that leadership is secondary to recognising Jesus. Different nationalities, different denominations, different churchmanships – the body of Christ represented together. Expectation is high and it is so encouraging to know that the Alpha and HTB teams have been praying for every attendee by name. “I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh” is the verse chosen as a prophetic word for every individual present. “How we listen is as imortant as to how people speak” is the reminder from Nicky Gumbel as to how we approach the conference.

After sharing the peace, Nicky Gumbel is the first speaker and reminds us afresh of the power of unity from Psalm 133. Unity is not always easy and we need to work hard at unity – ‘make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit’ (ephesians). A fresh reminder for the need of humility, gentleness, patience and forbearance. Love binds it all together. Unity is not doctrinal, it is relational. We learn this from the trinity….relationship is critical and our relationship around Jesus will determine our success in evangelising the nations. 

‘What unites us is infinitely greater than what divides us’ – Father Cantalamessa

If we want to bring the truth about Jesus to people, we need to be united. There is hope for us all because Jesus has given us great hope – why are we wasting time fighting one another when we have this great message to share with the world. We must stop fighting and need to get out and share our message.

There is a need for disagreement but we must do this in the context of friendship and love – then when a decision is made, we must back the leaders decision. Unity is not unanimity or uniformity. Its ok to have different views, this is how we learn from one another. Unity and truth are complementary not in opposition to one another. Could you imagine what it would be like if we stopped fighting one another and started to defend one another? Even those that are different to us – unity comes to us from the Holy Spirit, the same Holy Spirit fills us all. In a family, we do not exclude those that we disagree with, families can be diverse. We have just one Father. Illustration of a lion and springbocks – the lion pounces when 2 springbocks fight as their attention is divided. We need a new perspective of the world, we get this perspective by recognising that we are one body and looking at the problems in the world in a different way. 

What if we were to start afresh and make every effort to live in unity? Will we pray for it? Will we yearn for it?

As the talk concludes, Nicky and many in the hall seek God for forgiveness. A new beginning in the Church – Beautiful conclusion to the first session.