Colin Brice reaches out in Mindy, Body and Spirit.
Last week, 70 practitioners involved in ministries to spiritual seekers and the New Spiritualities gathered from different streams – Anglican, Baptist, Methodist, alternative worship and charismatic – some say it was the largest gathering in the world for this type of ministry, let alone the UK. The ancient Biblical texts tell us that when God's people are unified there shall be a blessing given; here at this conference there was a unity of heart, mind and spirit and the blessing of God was tangible for all present.
Hosted by Church Army and Journey into Wholeness, delegates gathered in Sheffield to hear insights from professor John Drane, Olive Drane and Ole Skjerbaek Madsen from Denmark who are key players in supporting and equipping new forms of ministry and mission to spiritual seekers.
Various workshops were run over Saturday to support, encourage and develop delegates working in this arena. These included: use of Tarot cards / the Jesus Deck / Wicca / how as Christians we can understand things like aura reading, chakras, Reiki, etc / use of Christian meditation with spiritual seekers / angels / use of prayer for healing / personal faith sharing and communication with people in the New Spiritualities / the spirituality of Glastonbury (the place more than the festival) and how we can engage with that, and dream interpretation.
Some conclusions from this conference include:
- Importance of networking together, to encourage and inspire each other and work as 'one' for New Spiritualities and its people.
- God is at work in and through us and out in the world where no lines of separation are drawn – it is not 'them and us', but all of us together as spiritual beings and searchers.
- A need for this type of ministry is required as we see the spiritual landscape changing.
- Release of people (under 30s) to explore ministry to the New Spiritualities and permission by leaders to experiment and develop 'different' expressions and forms.
- Encourage creativity to discover new ways, methods and connection points to enable fellow travellers to connect with Christ in contexts they understand and are familiar with.
- The future shape of church is 'unknown', but are we willing to take a chance and develop models that may or may not work.