Monday, 10 September 2007

Some reflections on Forum

So Forum 2007, entitled Transmission, has been and gone. 800 Christian Union leaders gathered at the Quinta for a week of praising God together, teaching, praying and looking ahead to the new academic year.

I think it was a wonderful time, and it might even have been my favourite of the Forum gatherings I've so far had the privilege of attending. Here are a few thoughts that I've had since I've been back:

Brother Andrew was incredibly inspiring. I'd re-read his book God's Smuggler whilst on holiday, and he was even more rousing in person, as he shared stories of sharing the gospel in the Islamic world, including with the Taliban. I guess I wouldn't completely sit happily with his theology of guidance, but I came away from his sessions realising how much more prayerful I need to be, and excited by the doors that might open if I was more reliant on God in prayer in this way.

Linked to this was a strong emphasis on world mission in this year's conference. UCCF has been at its strongest historically when world mission has been a key influence in all that we do. Brother Andrew and Lindsay Brown both spoke passionately about the gospel to the nations, but this concern for God's glory around the world came out in many other sessions too.

The teaching from Romans by Hugh Palmer felt really fresh. I'd never heard Hugh Palmer preach before, but he brings remarkable clarity in his teaching. His talk on Romans 8:12-17 was a particular personal highlight. Although I don't really feel like I'm suffering very much at the moment, I know that I have no need to fear. Our present suffering is not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed.

I was struck time and again last week of how wonderful it is to be a part of UCCF. In particular, I was reminded of how awesome it is to be surrounded by people that love to speak about God's grace - fantastic for the soul! A particular way in which this was shown was in the third part of Tim Rudge and Alison Williams' Dig Deeper training track, which looked at sanctification (being made more holy) in the light of our justification (having been declared righteous). It's brilliant being around people who are so passionate about standing firm in grace in all of the Christian life.

Finally, it was great to see a real commitment to being inter-denominational. I felt that this year's incarnation of Forum was perhaps consciously more inter-denominational than others in previous years. It is wonderful to see students from across the evangelical spectrum uniting together to make Jesus famous - long may it continue.

Talks from Forum 2007 will soon appear on the UCCF website - very worthwhile downloading if you get a chance.


Little Mo said...

Er...there were 530 students there. About 700 people on site.

Otherwise,I concur wholeheartedly!

peterdray said...

Errrr ... whoops?!

gazleaney said...

Well, however many people were there, it was still a shedload of potatoes!

It was indeed a great week, and all that peeling was definitely worth it. I'm hoping to do to again next year - I want to be the one to rumble John Piper's potatoes!