Forgotten your password? Click here

Please enter the email address associated with your account.

Caring for God’s Church

For the past few years we’ve run day conferences across the UK to equip pastors and help build local relationships. Richard Underwood reflects on the 2012 conferences and introduces us to 2013’s theme.

Caring for God’s Church primary image

If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church? [1 Timothy 3v5]

During 2012 our regional day conferences have taken us across the country from Exmouth to Edinburgh and from Bridgend to Cambridge. In total around 300 pastors and other leaders attended the twelve events.

What I have found particularly encouraging this year has been the local emphasis. Each time, a local pastor has taken the lead, another local pastor has preached God’s word to us and we have spent time listening to one another’s stories, rejoicing in the successes and facing up to the challenges. We have also spent time praying for one another.

Andy Paterson and Trevor Archer have joined me in leading sessions on Caring for God’s Church. Although the theme has been consistent, each conference has taken on a life and an emphasis of its own. Break times and lunch times have been every bit as important as the more formal settings.

Regional Conference in March 2012

Looking back, I have been encouraged to see the beginnings of a new spirit of love and mutual care among the pastors of our Pastors’ Association (now Pastors’ Network). Without doubt, the growing enthusiasm for and confidence in Independent gospel ministry generated by the Leaders’ Conference is beginning to trickle down to the local level. Traditional and rather formalised fraternal meetings are being replaced by more relational groupings focused on prayer and helping one another with ministry – like preaching groups, for instance. We are getting to know one another better and we are developing a clearer sense of identity. We are learning in practice that church is not a set of meetings you go to; it’s a family you belong to.

As I have sat back and observed the men reflecting on how best they should care for God’s people, I have realised afresh that each of these men is a brother in Christ. Not just an under-shepherd but a sheep – frail, human and vulnerable. It’s my prayer that the Pastors’ Network will care well for this particular community of God’s People.

How to be Strong

Next year, we take another step forward by inviting the growing number of other gospel workers from our churches to join us, as well as encouraging pastors to bring their wives. Together we’ll learn how to be strong as we consider how the grace of the Lord Jesus gives us both courage and joy. Details of the 2013 programme will be available shortly.

Richard Underwood photo
Richard Underwood - FIEC Pastoral Ministries Director

Richard is married to Pippa and they have two grown-up children. He loves (watching) sport, walking and “extreme reading” (that’s an extremely good book in an extremely comfortable chair!).


Follow Richard Underwood on Twitter – @Richard_J_U

Similar entries across our site

    • Valued and Thriving

      Thrive, our annual conference for women in ministry, took place last week. But in some ways we’re reluctant to call it a conference. Elisabeth Smyth explains what makes Thrive so special.

      Read more

    • The Power of God

      Last week saw our annual Leaders' Conference take place on the Norfolk coast. So what was it like?

      Read more

    • Unsung Heroes

      Roy Saint writes about one of the essential roles in a local church, and a conference that’s designed specifically to help them. Who are they? Read on to find out…

      Read more

    • Jump on board!

      As far as conferences go, The Hub Conference is pretty unique. It’s tailored specifically to help individuals find a clear route into Independent church ministry. Bookings for the 2014 event have just opened and Trevor Archer tells us...

      Read more

    • “The mix is irresistible!”

      Discovering the heartbeat of today’s Keswick Convention with John Risbridger, the Chair of Keswick Ministries.

      Read more

    • Conferences are good for you

      It has certainly felt like conference season here on our News page. But why bother with them at all? Andy Paterson answers that question as he reflects on his time at the recent gathering of The Gospel Coalition.

      Read more

    • Men’s Conventions

      Trevor Archer has been involved in the London Men’s Convention ever since its inception in 2002. As the team get ready for their twelfth convention, Trevor gives us a bit of insight into both the history and this year’s event.

      Read more

    • Explicit

      Last week FIEC joined with Acts 29 Europe for their annual conference. Andy Paterson tells us more about the event, as well as our growing relationship with Acts 29.

      Read more

    • Changing Hearts

      Saturday 23rd February saw the first ever CCEF Changing Hearts conference to take place in the UK. Richard Underwood is part of the team who were responsible for organising the day, and here he tells us a bit about the conference and the...

      Read more