31st January 2019
Under the theme of ‘Keeping’, this year’s South England Conference (SEC) Elders’, Deacons’ and Deaconesses’ Conference at Staverton Park in Daventry attracted record numbers of nearly 400 participants with many not being able to get registered. The weekend event which took place from 18-20 January was led by Devotional guest speaker, Pastor Patrick Carter from the Emmanuel church in Atlanta, USA with four SEC directors who did workshops on the theme.
Carter’s daily messages inspired and challenged the participants to be relevant when it comes to Retention. His three points for accomplishing this are first, to be insistent on meeting the needs of those whom we wish to retain. Second, be persistent with them; that is, in the same way, that God does not give up on us, we must be persistent in supporting those who need help for retention. Third, we must be consistent in our ways and attitude. He said, our message does not change, but the style for reaching out must be tailored to a continually changing society to be relevant.
Pastor Ebenezer Jones-Lartey, Ministerial Association Secretary and organiser of the event said, the theme was pitched against the backdrop of the conference’s broader theme of ‘Retention’ to address the ‘Keeping’ of the Lord’s flock. He said the leaders of the church, including the elders, deacons and deaconesses are the keepers of the congregation.
There were four workshops at the three-day event and were led by Conference directors; Pastor Michael Mbui, Pastor Wayne Erasmus and Dr Chidi Ngwaba, including one for Deacons and Deaconesses by Jones-Lartey.
Jones-Lartey addressed the role deacons and deaconesses play in retaining members. He says, “The deacons and deaconesses are spiritual ambassadors for Christ. Their purpose is to bring Christ’s ministry of health to the local church.