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SENT 2023 Recap



It has been almost two months since we gathered together in Stavanger, Norway. What have been your takeaways? How have you been trying some of the things you learned into your ministry and into your life?


From mid-September, we are planning to release the recordings of the sessions each week with some study questions. So stay tuned and let us continue to grow together. In the meantime, we can read a SENT 2023 recap written by Ruth Donaldson and remind ourselves of our time at the SENT 2023. If you missed being there, this is a great opportunity to learn and reflect together how the future of the church and mission would look alike.

 

At the opening night of the global mission summit SENT 2023 attended by around 750 Baptists from Europe and beyond, Miroslav Volf issued the challenge of aligning ourselves with the work of God the creator as a homemaker God:


“The transformational power to make this world God’s home starts from within. Firstly, we must make a home for God in our hearts. Then we can become transformational in the home-making work of God in this world.”



This set the tone for the week, exploring the shape of God’s home-making mission today through seminars, discussions, prayer and worship led by a multicultural, multi-generational, multi-lingual team of contributors.


Big questions of missional living for the next generation, the place of the arts, engaging with other religions and digital culture were explored. Themes of hospitality, creation care, justice and unconditional love featured prominently in the emerging picture of what it means to be a disciple, a learner, one who is sent on the mission of God. From setting up student dormitories in Cambodia to opening laundry facilities for refugees arriving in Lebanon or Greece or cooking a Peace Menu as a tangible practise of hospitality in Germany: the models of hope restored and faith inspired were endless. Baptist brothers and sisters living daily with uncertainty and conflict in Ukraine and Syria testified to the Holy Spirit’s power to replace fear with hope that God’s home- making mission will not be thwarted:


“It’s not about being afraid; it’s about what we do with our fear.” “we have faith in him and we are ready to go.”




Stories of numerous church planting projects were shared, inspiring others to consider how God can use them to transform the communities where they live. Participants described their experience of the SENT 2023 programme as “innovative; creative; inspiring; refreshing; vibrant; courageous.” Many expressed appreciation of just having space and time to make connections with fellow Baptists from other places, and share in the rich variety of stories of how God’s kingdom is growing globally.


A significant highlight of the week came on the 3rd evening when over 100 young leaders aged under 35 years old stood to be recognised in their calling to God’s mission, committing themselves to support their peers while others around them prayed for them to be released to serve in the power of the Holy Spirit. This moment of inter-generational ministry had a profound impact which many testified to during the following days.




Reflecting on the quest to discover what God is calling us to, Alpha Youth director Dez Johnstone suggested three steps to fuel the fire of revival: identify the ‘no go’ areas where God needs to transform our attitudes; listen to the Spirit; learn to love our neighbours, freely opening our hearts and our homes to them.


It is the prayer of EBF leaders that the impact of this week will take root and produce green shoots of hope, not only in the lives of those who attended SENT 2023 but beyond it to their home countries and communities.



The following prayer summarises what God has been teaching participants during the mission summit and unites us in our desire to apply the lessons of SENT 2023:



SENT 2023 final prayer on Sunday, 9 July 2023


Home-maker God, you have gathered us in this nest of your protection and love.

Disciples learning in your presence,

Global pilgrims who love the soil, the people and God.

Generations reflecting the light of your glory.


O Holy Spirit move in our hearts.


From mission impossible to mission possible.

We long to be the zeros to your one.

Tens, of hundreds, of thousands, who walk in step with you.

A multi-generational team empowered to go together.


O Holy Spirit move in our hearts.


Your story is our melody,

Your welcome inspires hospitality,

Your sacrifice and victory set us free.

Your incarnational ministry, our model of integrity.


O Holy Spirit move in our hearts.


Shame and indignity washed away,

As ashes are pressed into Diadem Crowns.

We are a walking testimony,

From Imposter Syndrome we are set free.

Hope restored, Faith revived.


Lord send me!


What story are you making?

What destinies are you changing?

To what ‘no go’ areas are you sending?

Who will I send?


Lord send me!


Amen!


Story: Ruth Donaldson

Prayer: Alan Donaldson

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