Do you long to make a difference for Christ? Are you passionate about Jesus and his work in this world? Do you long to see wrongs righted, injustices redressed, and the gospel lifted high? Do you believe that God’s Spirit works through Scripture to shape our lives and our work? These were the questions addressed at CBE’s recent conference in Denver—“Seeking Justice and Loving Mercy.”
Christians from around the world gathered in Denver to explore not only the biblical foundations of gift-based ministry, but also the biblical and theological basis for gender justice and Christian service. As speakers shared from their years of study and ministry, as award-recipients were honored for their lives of courage and leadership, as we joined together in worship and prayer, we felt God’s presence grow stronger. It came to us largely in the form of joy.
We were delighted and surprised by so much joy! The “precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart” (Psalm 19:8). Why does joy accompany our gospel service in a fallen world? Why is redressing error, injustices, and gender inequities accompanied by God’s joyful Spirit? Scripture tells us that when justice prevails, the joy of the Lord is our strength (Neh. 8:10).
In addition to joy, the importance of prayer emerged as a key emphasis during the conference. Speakers reminded us that prayer plays a strategic role in discerning and doing God’s will in the ministry of biblical equality.
In drawing upon the wisdom of CBE’s gender and justice panelists, conference attendees asked how we should deal with denominations or churches that continue to resist the biblical foundations of gift-based rather than gender-based ministry. Panelists—seasoned by years of leadership and experience—agreed the answer lies in patient and persistent prayer. In waiting upon God, we renew our strength and discern God’s leading in our lives and ministries.
At CBE, we have discovered that as we pray for individuals and denominations, God often graciously allows us to observe his hand working even as we pray. We are often blessed to grow closer to those whose lives are impacted by our prayers—even when we pray for people we’ve never met! Here is one small example from our conference this summer.
Rob works on our blog team. Though we’ve never met him, we remember him in our prayers often since he is a vital member of CBE’s community. While at our conference in Denver, a good friend and CBE member Patti Valasek kept telling me she wanted me to meet her son-in-law Rob. Finally at the end of the conference she introduced me to him. You guessed it! This is the same Rob on our blog team. I wanted to cry for joy. Rob had become dear to us not only through prayer but also through his partnership in CBE’s ministry.
Some of you also responded to our plea to make it possible for our attendees from foreign countries to take home with them $100 worth of books on biblical equality. You can imagine their joy when they received these gifts!
Our 2007 conference shows that CBE is a global community of change-agents whose shared commitment to Scripture, evangelism, and justice are fueled by courage, prayer, and joy—all good and perfect gifts from our loving God!