The following report was printed in the June 2010 Edition of The Baptist Magazine.
Hearts, minds, and lives were powerfully impacted by the Word of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ when nearly 200 attendees from across Australia and New Zealand attended the inaugural STAND for the Gospel bible conference. Hosted by Howick Baptist Church in Auckland from 16–18 April, keynote speaker Conrad Mbewe (Kabwata Baptist Church, Lusaka, Zambia) — often referred to as the “African Spurgeon” — provided a feast of preaching over five sessions that was Spirit-empowered, Gospel-saturated and Christ-magnifying. Workshop speakers Joe Fleener (Riverbend Bible), Paul Davison (Hastings) and Peter Somervell (Howick) brought further practical applications of the Gospel to various life situations over an enriching weekend.
There were numerous highlights from Conrad’s sermons at STAND 2010. He relayed the need to stand firm in the sufficiency of Scripture using a number of memorable illustrations. Many were convicted by his challenge to make God’s glory the ultimate motivation in evangelism efforts (John 12:20–33). In addition, his powerful exposition of Psalm 50 helped to correct a number of false assumptions about worship. Conrad also exhorted attendees to stand firm in the centrality of the Gospel, and be motivated to lead a disciplined life in light of it.
Beyond the preaching, attendees were able to hear about what God has done and is doing through Conrad’s ministry in Zambia. Over the past 15 years, the Lord has been pleased to use the men there to plant some 40 new churches, establish a pastor training school, and develop plans to start a Christian University by 2012. It was exciting to hear of the great work the Lord is doing in this part of the Baptist world.
Other conference highlights included:
- meeting brothers- and sisters-in-Christ from all parts of the country faithfully serving in their corner of His vineyard;
- ministry presentations from Gospel for Asia, Adopt-a-Child, and Grace Books New Zealand;
- the Christ-exalting music ministry, as William Chong marshalled an inter-church music team to lead attendees in corporate worship
The conference deliberately honed in on the primacy of the Gospel — the joyous declaration that God is redeeming the world through Christ (Matt 1:21; Luke 1:68; Eph 1:7; Col 1:20), and that he calls everyone everywhere to repent from sin and trust Jesus Christ for salvation (Mark 1:15; Acts 2:38; 17:30).
Conference coordinator Calvyn Jonker shared: “A major inspiration for establishing this conference came from evangelist George Müller’s seven reasons for his preaching ministry: to preach the Gospel in its simplicity, to lead believers to know their saved state, to bring believers back to the Scriptures, to promote among all true believers brotherly love, to strengthen the faith of believers, to promote separation from the world, and to fix the hope of disciples on the blessed coming of our Lord Jesus.”
STAND 2010 was an immensely edifying weekend, and reminded every person there that a great, sovereign and faithful God is accomplishing His purposes for His glory and the good of His children right here in New Zealand.