Family and Christian Ministry – addressed by Jill and Stuart Briscoe, in Sovata

Bradet and Danubius hotels in Sovata were hosts to a very beneficial event for the 250 participants at the already traditional motivational conference organized this year by BIG, in partnership with Cornilescu Colloquium, having Jill and Stuart Briscoe from US as main speakers. The conference was on March 9-12, 2009.

In the introductory session, after the worship time, designed to get those who just arrived familiarized with the conference atmosphere, we were challenged by Gelu Paul, the BIG-Impact’ strategic coordinator who, starting with Mathew 17:17-20, challenging us to evaluate our life and ministry, so that we can really take God seriously.

After Gelu, theologians Radu Gheorghita and Emil Bartos, from Cornilescu Colloquium had their speeches. Radu used the opportunity to draft in a very visual way the intense pleasure experienced by he who is dedicated to fill his mind with the Word of God, memorizing whole chapters and even books from the Bible. Later in the conference, Radu answered the attendants’ challenge to recite some Scripture passages, which he memorized in Greek and Hebrew, showing by personal example that memorizing Scripture is something achievable by he who finds delight in the Lord.

The final speech of the introductory session belonged to Emil Bartos who talked about Jeremiah, who challenged his listeners to do what is good before God, applying this to the attendants at the conference.

The next three days belonged to Jill and Stuart Briscoe. We had separate sessions, Jill addressing the women and Stuart the men, both focusing on practical aspects of the Christian ministry, brining some very valuable information for the attendants, especially since much of the information was validated by their vast ministry experience. In a very natural way, they were using illustrations almost entirely from their personal experiences in ministry, real cases with applications already tested through years of ministry.

Aside from the separate sessions, destined to Christian ministry and ministers, we also had some main sessions, dedicated specially for the Christian marriage and family, both Stuart and Jill using the biblical support given in Corinthians and Ephesians. The way the completed each other was impressive. The way they approached some sensitive issues was also impressive, especially since many times such issues are dealt with in distorted ways, which result in extremist attitudes. Stuart was very strong in challenging Christian men to take a serving leadership role, in love, inside the family, modeled after Christ model, while Jill shown that the Christian woman is to understand her belonging to both her natural and spiritual family, being permanently sensitive to God’s requests and priorities, as he requires dedication to both, without giving priority to the latter.

Of course, we cannot write here the essence of all that was said in four days of conference. Time passed by very fast, due to the rapid succession of separate and main sessions, interspersed with moments of authentic worship, and also with interactive sessions, where Jill and Stuarts were bombarded with diverse questions from the audience. We would like to emphasize Stuart’s fine humor, delighting the participants through his relaxing and joyous inputs, disarming them before sharing life and ministry changing information.

Each one of us left the conference enriched because of the interaction with two experienced speakers, but, also, with the joy of a special fellowship developed in these days, and, also, with our batteries charged to maximum, we hope to be able to show a superior dedication in doing all that it takes to rise to the expectations of the One who started such a beautiful ministry in us.

Aside from those already mentioned, a lot of other people made this event a successful one. Among them are Aurel Burtic, Mitras Dudas, Claudia and Catalin Chiciudean, Dani Popa, Marius Mezin and the worship band, Cristi Barbosu, Mihai Dumitrascu, etc. We are thankful to them and to those not mentioned here, but, above all, to God, for making us part of such a blessing.

Highlights from the participants:

Virgil Dan, pastor, Ecclesia Church, Cluj Napoca: I was impressed by Stuart’s ability to be captivating, profound and relevant, and, also, his way of illustrating his messages with example from his own life and ministry.

Aurel Gacea, pastor, Baptist Church, Tulcea: I came to this conference with my wife and we were attracted by both the main speakers’ personality, and the main theme. I was pleasantly surprised by the approach of the family-ministry issue, and have appreciated the usage of “blending”, instead of “balancing”, along with the right explanations, which shown the often superficial approach to the ministry calling and family responsibilities.

Daniel and Daniela Rusu, Iasi: Stuart and Jill are motivators and we appreciated this time as being a gain for us. From God’s ministry point of view, in our lives, this conference is a milestone, kind of an oasis for the intense live we experience, because ministering to other people seem to consume us. We were surprised by the details, floral arrangements, venue décor, and the professionalism of the light, sound, media, and organizing crews.

Nelu Lupoian, Cluj Napoca: I was impressed by the conference, because it was a good moment of building relationships, but, also, an opportunity to get closer to heaven, with the help of these wonderful people, who proved that they are living what they are teaching.

Anatol, pastor, Emanuel  Baptist Church, Cahul, Moldova: I came to this conference with big expectations, and I can confess Stuart Briscoe was so captivating that he eventually got all of my attention. I liked the principles dealing with the communication of the Word, the challenge to better understand those I minister to, and also the family related teaching, where I got a complete perspective, through Jill’s involvement side by side with Stuart. Among many other things, I understood that I am not the center – Jesus has to be the center and the goal and that I am not to expect my wife to serve me, but, together, we should serve him.

Florin Vasiliu, pastor, Baptist Church, Iasi: Both for me and my wife, attending Stuart and Jill Briscoe’s conference represented a special moment, because these two have a rich experience and represent a model in ministering together. Although in our country it is difficult to imagine something like this, we dream to see here families who will minister together in the same way and with the same dedication for God. We thank the organizers, both from Cornilescu Colloquium and from BIG, for offering us this precious conference.


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