Wednesday, November 22, 2006

SLC 06

Student Leaders Conference 2006

I always feel quite at home on the Kapiti Coast. The first time we came to New Zealand in July 01 I spoke at a conference at El Rancho. The next time later that year I was at my first SLC at Palm Grove, the third time when Stephen and I were checking out NZ I was at El Rancho again and back at Palm Grove. It was good to be at my 4th SLC and first since being here properly. Highlights included "Sound of Music" Karoake each night, a group we had sponsored from Fiji making a great contribution and exploring possible future partnerships with Arul from UESI in India. I spoke on 2 Timothy in the evenings and we had "Tim Teams" in the afternoon looking at the same book in small groups. The atmosphere was great during the week and the feedback has been quick and articulate. I share with you, the first few emails I have got since the weekend. They remind me why we are here and I hope encourage you.

From Scott: "It's hard to believe just how much SLC has impacted me. It has changed my life dramatically. I feel even closer to God than ever. It was a blessing I got to attend this year... I am so thankful Lord.

My life is spiraling upwards and onwards on a wild ride with Jesus. I'm not out of control, but its a fun ride LOL.

SLC was quite simply the best time of my life. I can say that with certainty. I have never felt so close to my fellow man as I did during that week. Friendships were established, fun was had and God's word was studied and learnt with enthusiasm and a yearning for more. All of this was possible through God. It was through our love for Him that love was felt throughout Palm Grove.

My knowledge of the Bible is somewhat better than before obviously, and I feel quite knowledgable about the insights of 2 Timothy now. I now need to keep to my word and study the Word of God. I have my Bible Reading Guide to help me along, so no excuses now haha. Actually I have alot to read, but have alot of time to do it as well. Wish me luck, reading is kinda hard for me... dunno why, it just tires me out quickly.

Big hi to everyone who attended SLC, thanks for the awesome support and memories!"

From Francesca: "Just wanted to let you know that SLC was really life changing for me. It was my first SLC.

I've realised for the very first time the importance of the Word of God, and how to go about reading it efficiently. Even though I've been brought up in a Christian family and have been exposed to the Bible since a young age, I took the Word for granted. I've never really appreciated its significance, and never know exactly how to go about tackling it.

There was a session where you talked about handling God's Word properly. I've learnt that to read the Word properly, I must first understand what the Word meant to the people that it was written to, so that I am able to understand its context. And then only I can ask myself what is God trying to tell me through the Word. When youquoted Galatians 2:20 as one of the verses that you've memorised by heart, it struck a chord with me because that verse was one of the very few that I know like the back of my hand. And that verse has helped me through many bad times. I've resolved to finish reading the Bible in a year, and to read it with care.

The field trip was a challenging and yet wonderful experience. I've never done such a thing before. Talking to strangers and just listening to their stories taught me a very important thing: everyone has a story, and everyone longs for someone to hear them out. Being a naturally shy person, this skill is one that I deem useful in building connections and friendships, especially in university. I believe in friendship evangelism rather than just blasting the gospel in people's faces. I've learnt by gathering the courage to actually build relationships, the gospel can be spread more effectively, because it will be spread not only through words, but through our actions as well.

Kudos to TSCF for such a wonderful, life-changing conference!! Thank you for everything, and may God bless TSCF always."

From Nathan: "Firstly, I would like to thank you and the rest of the TSCF team for another awesome conference. God is doing amazing stuff at TSCF conferences and I really appreciate all the work that you guys put in. Praise God that we have some awesome TSCF staff!

For me personally, God challenged me in a number of ways this SLC. I was inspired to get into Gods word more once again. It was really great to be able to go deep into one book of the Bible. It gave me better understanding, not only of the book of 2 timothy, but also of the depth of Gods word. I also feet challenged to make sure I preach the gospel both boldly and accurately. It made me realise that I need to watch what we read and hear from teachers and to think about whether or not what they say is indeed the gospel. I also wonderer about persecution and how the attitude of many Christians in the west seems to be that if we are a “good Christian” than God will give us a sweet life and that he will make us prospers. We often get surpassed when something comes up which goes against our beliefs.

I was also challenged to think about my motivations for serving. Sometimes I would do things, and part ( or all) of may motivation for doing so was not to serve God, but to make myself look like I was a “good Christian”. The study really made me consider why I am serving, not just how much I am doing in CU and in The Church."

From Rachel: "I really enjoyed SLC this year. I really appreciated the solid bible teaching and friendships I made. I was so impressed with the way that people treated each other, with respect and love, and people weren't exluded.
I think the thing I have learnt most from this past week has been about God's big picture. Because Paul wrote his second letter to Timothy right at the end of his life, the bigger picture comes into perspective. In light of this big picture I've realised that this life isn't supposed to be comfortable. I will be persecuted if I want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus.
I have learnt that even though I will be persecuted, I shouldn't be ashamed of the gospel.
I have learnt that I need to watch out for teachers who aren't being true to the gospel about Jesus.
I have been encouraged that in all these things "I know the one in whom I have put my trust", and God is building his church despite persecution and false teaching.

Bring on "that day"!!

Thanks for an awesome week."

From Peter: "This is to say how much I appreciated SLC 2006, although honestly I don't think I can express how powerful, valuable, inspiring, energising, encouraging it was. For most of the previous trimester, before coming to SLC, I was really down on being able to communicate effectively about God at uni. At that stage I was not going to Christian Union, and wasn't involved with any groups at church, apart from as a leader. I was also finding it really difficult to work through faith-issues raised by my Philosophy courses. As a result I found it near-impossible to apply my motivation to share God's Truth in general to uni students, who I felt I could relate to only very remotely. By contrast, I found it a lot easier to relate to the guys at work, and was able to have a few short conversations about God. Recently I started going to Christian Union again, and I've been kicking myself ever since for not making time to go sooner. I found it fantastic to be back among "the body of Christ", and have begun to get a real hold on what that phrase means. Furthermore, I found it inspiring and a real privilege to be among people who are truly committed to God and the unique revelation of His Word.

As encouraging and humbling as it was to be a part of CU again, I didn't realise that I hadn't seen nothin yet. Spending a week with other students from all around NZ, some of whom I'd had the privilege of meeting before, was among the many fantastic experiences at SLC which contributed to what was one of the most significant weeks of my life. The reasons SLC was so fantastic include:

The genuine passion of all the students and staff to truly honour God.

The depth of knowledge of and commitment to the Truth of God's Word exhibited by students and staff alike, and the staff's commitment to teaching us how to utilise its power, both for ourselves and for others, even when sleep-deprived.

The genuinely useful and sound principles we were taught about how to share God's Truth, which I know for myself will help me avoid many mistakes I would have made otherwise.

The opportunity to get to know other Christians from New Zealand and the world, and to begin to truly understand the truth that we are brothers and sisters, part of a larger purpose for which we are all responsible. As a result, we can truly forge Christ-like friendships in which we all seize hold of God's command:
Because of SLC I'm now convinced that these types of relationships are possible, in which we can fuse together, driven by God's power, and radically and humbly committed to God's purposes.

Studying 2 Timothy in depth in a group, and through that learning (among other things) that in spite of the claims of Postmodernism, it is possible to objectively find the meaning of God's Word. As we pooled our ideas about the meaning of complex or ambiguous ideas in Paul's letter, we were able to discern its intent, and personally I found that another encouragement to search God's Word a lot more than I had been, and to allow God to use it powerfully in the lives of my friends. God confirmed that He "means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon's scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God's Word. We can't get away from it--no matter what." (Heb. 4:12-13.)

Just like Tim(othy), I've got lots of opportunities to lead, but not the natural ability. SLC gave me so much impetus to share God's truth with others that where I was previously happy to fit in with the crowd, I now want to be cleaned out of "ignoble purposes [...] an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work" (2 Tim. 2:20-21); in other words, to stop allowing wrong attitudes and habits to get in the way of other people being blessed by God.

Of the many retreats and Christian camps I've been on, this is one I'm not going to forget or gloss over. I'll remember SLC as the week which God blessed spectacularly, and which many of us will continue to feel the impact of long into the future.

Thanks very much for all the work and prayer you guys put into this Mr. Pollock, and to our brothers and sisters praying for us overseas. God really did work spectacularly through this week; He confirmed so powerfully that He's faithful to HIs people's needs and prayers, and that He is deeply committed to us."

I should also mention (by way of explaining some of the photos) the totally awesome fashion show launching the new logo in different regional colours. Liz and Emily did a great job in producing a variety of customised outfits which were modelled with considerable flair! We auctioned the items on the last night and made the incredible sum of $935.00 for IFES.

We had the office christmas party at our house last night which included the public launch of our new barbecue and Jamie's first public piping performance. I was struck by how much people have enjoyed working in the office this year. We have much to give thanks for... and we do have some fun!


Debbie Luke said...

Hi Nige,

It is good to read how well SLC went and how much God has been blessing your work. My love to Ailsa and the boys,

Scott said...

Hi Nigel,

Here are my brief thoughts on the week
SLC 06

Thanks heaps

Jerry Middleton said...

Thanks for this latest blog, Nigel. SLC must have been a great encouragement to you personally - and sharing some of the responses like that is one huge big encouragement to us guys as well!

Nigel Pollock said...

Thanks Jerry. I thought the comment about being grateful for people overseas was quite significant. You will notice that I also found the picture I was looking for!!