Rowan gave the main talks - six sessions on the doctrine of God. Over the mornings, we had five review groups, where students had a chance to discuss, examine, question, and apply the content of Rowan's talks in a small group context. I thoroughly enjoyed being back at Ancon as a staffworker, soaking in the chance to delve into the scriptures under faithful teaching and with a great group of students.
Here's my quick summary of each talk.
- The Christian gospel is that Jesus is Lord - not just a statement about a man, but a statement about God himself!
- The identity of God is Father, Son, and Spirit, three persons in one being. They are not all the same, but they act in unity in everything, from creation to redemption to new creation.
- God is sovereign over everything, whether good or bad, and ultimately is found to be only good. Yet we have real freedom and real responsibility - but we are safe in Christ.
- God's love is inherent in who he is, shown most clearly at the cross, where we are extended the same love as the Father has for the Son, and justice is not neglected.
- God's holiness is his unchanging desire to live amongst his people, made possible by making his people holy.
- God is glorious! He is bringing everything, including us, to ultimately reflect his glory.
In the mornings, we also had three sessions in "community channels" - mid-sized groups consisting of a few faculties who heard talks on Isaiah from different speakers. Andrew Lubbock, who works as a missionary in Italy, spoke well to the Arts, Law, and Design students, sharing some of his experiences with university students in Italy and declaring that God alone is the ultimate reference point.
In the afternoons, students had some free time with lots of "choose your own adventure" options - from touch football, soccer, and basketball, to crochet, origami, and even zumba. Of course, they also had the option just to relax! Before dinner, we ran a number of seminars. Two seminars were aimed at equipping students to speak for Jesus by making friends, inviting and bringing them to events and gatherings, and enfolding them into Christian community. I ran an elective seminar on having gospel conversations with friends who seem apathetic, which was very popular (around 60 students came) and which I hope was helpful.
As a staffworker, I found the experience full of joy and excitement. I enjoyed the chance to learn from the talks and to spend lots of time with students. I didn't get much chance to stop being "on" during the day, so I was thankful that I slept relatively well after the first night! Next week we're back on campus with both the start of semester 2 and the start of three weeks of mission, so there's lots of exciting adventures to come!
- For the chance to go away and dwell on our glorious God for five days
- For the three students we know who gave their lives to Christ
- For the faithful teaching from Rowan, the morning speakers, and the staffworkers and visitors who gave seminars
- For good discussions in review groups
- For the efforts of the Ancon team in preparing for the conference and during the conference
- For the Christians to apply what they have learnt
- For the non-Christians to continue investigating Jesus
- For the students as they go back to uni
- For the mission that starts on Monday