Strengthening the church
and making disciples in the COVID 'new normal'
Building on the success of last year’s inaugural conference when 220 people joined from all over the UK for an unforgettable weekend we are excited to report on our 2021 Conference.
The conference was held via Zoom over Friday afternoon (3-5pm) and evening (7-9pm). We had a stellar line up of seminar speakers with one of our keynote speakers being the inspirational Shodankeh Johnson from Sierra Leone. If you have not heard him before you will not want to miss him! He had a much needed message for the British church, born out of persecution, hardships and has seen significant growth in the church across his homeland (see bio below). Our second keynote speaker is Nicky Gumbel, pioneer of Alpha. Nicky discussed the value of online and video Alpha, reflecting on the wider lessons for us as we move from a pandemic lockdown church, into a new season in sharing the Gospel across our nation.
Our 12 seminar speakers were drawn from across the UK and bring practical wisdom to a wide range of areas that many churches are grappling with in our current climate as we begin to move into the post-pandemic world. They included subjects such as: Keeping the gospel central in community engagement, demonstrating the relevance of the church in a post-Christian culture, the church in the online world, developing blended church, making Jesus known in our youth culture, and pathways to friendship evangelism.
The big group teaching and worship times was blended with small discussion breakout rooms, Q and A with the speakers, relaxed virtual coffee times to reconnect with friends and make new connections. All done at a pace and in a way creatively designed to enable everyone to become energised, inspired and equipped for the season ahead.
Whatever your role in your local church this conference was designed to encourage Christians across the UK to reflect on the learnings from the last year and become fired up and equipped to take the opportunities that the Holy Spirit is opening up for us all as we move forward into the new uncertain world.
Spread the word about this exciting conference so as many as possible will be able to benefit from future events to make Jesus known across the UK.
Main Guest Speakers
Global Training and Prayer Mobilisation
We are delighted to have Shodankeh Johnson with us during the Connect Conference for our main teaching sessions. He is an inspirational leader and speaker who God has used greatly to impact the nation of Sierra Leone over the last couple of decades.
Shodankeh is the husband of Santa, and father of seven, and is the leader of New Harvest Ministries (NHM) in Sierra Leone. Through God’s favour, and a commitment to Disciple Making Movements, they have seen hundreds of simple churches planted, over 70 schools started, and many other access ministries initiated in Sierra Leone in the last 15 years. This includes churches among 15 Muslim people groups. They have also sent long-term workers to 14 countries in Africa, including 8 countries in the Sahel and Maghreb.
Shodankeh has led training and catalysing prayer and disciple-making movements in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the United States. He has served as the President of the Evangelical Association of Sierra Leone and the African Director of CityTeam International. He is currently responsible for global training and prayer mobilization for CityTeam International.
Pioneer of Alpha and vicar of HTB in London
In 1990 Nicky Gumbel took over the running of HTB’s Alpha Course from fellow curate Nicky Lee. Developed as a short course at HTB London, in 1990 Nicky Gumbel took over running Alpha and found that many people outside of the church wanted to explore the Christian faith. Nicky is the author of many books and is married to Pippa.
In 1993 the first Alpha conference for church leaders was held at Holy Trinity Brompton. It was attended by 1,000 leaders. The course then began to spread all over the UK in churches of every denomination. Since 1993, millions of people have tried Alpha, in 169 countries.
Nicky Gumbel has written a number of best-selling books including Questions of Life, The Jesus Lifestyle, Searching Issues and A Life Worth Living. He is the author of the free Bible reading app Bible in One Year.