By Nick Park
(From the October - December 2017 issue of VOX.)
Tim Keller, theologian, author and pastor of New York’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church, once tweeted the question, “If you and your church were to disappear off the face of the earth tomorrow, would anyone in the community around you notice you were gone?”
I would go a step further and ask, “If the community around you were to disappear off the face of the earth tomorrow, would anyone in your church notice that it had gone?”
According to Jesus, God’s intention is for the Church to be the salt and light of the world – transforming communities to become the places that God always meant them to be. So why is it that so many of our communities still look so, well, so untransformed? Has the salt really lost its savour? Or perhaps the Church is genuinely willing to help but just needs a bit of help to be pointed in the right direction?
Part of Evangelical Alliance Ireland’s vision is to help equip the Church – so the EAI National Forum for 2017 is focussing on transformation. Seasoned practitioners will be converging on Dublin in November to help provide resources for local churches and Christian believers that want to make a difference.
In one track of seminars, Tearfund, Christian Aid and Thrive will help delegates explore what it looks like for Christians to respond to the needs of their community in a way that is loving, respectful and Christ-like.
Simultaneously, there will be a range of single issue workshops addressing homelessness, abortion, caring for God’s creation, the persecuted church, immigration, racial discrimination and Street Pastors. Among others, David Turner of Church in Chains, Sharan Kelly of Tearfund and Peter McVerry will be demonstrating how ordinary people can produce extraordinary transformation.
There will also be plenty of opportunity to interact with speakers, workshop leaders, and other delegates. The idea is that every Christian who attends, whether they are in church leadership or not, will discover practical ways to become God’s agents for change.
The National Forum will run from 9.30am until 5pm on Saturday 4 November, and the venue is Betania Pentecostal Church, Damastown Road, Dublin 15. The conference fee is €28, which includes lunch. There are discounts available for group bookings. Full information is available at www.evangelical.ie and on EAI’s Facebook page.
Nick Park is the Executive Director of the Evangelical Alliance Ireland.