Equipping the Saints – serving together across Asia and beyond! The Conference Title expresses well the vision and the purpose of the Increase Association, and this Conference brought together some 170 people from around thirty nations with that heart and purpose. There were considerable financial difficulties for some participants, with economic hardship, general inflation, and particularly the cost of air travel greatly increased post-COVID.
Dr Thomas Schirrmacher, Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance was with the Conference on Tuesday November 29 and Wednesday November 30. He addressed conference participants on November 29, speaking from Acts 6.1-7 in relation to Increase’s ‘golden thread’ and ‘seven pearls’. He pointed out that when facing a challenge in the early church, the apostles found an institutional, organised solution to deal effectively with the problem, while preserving the essential DNA of prayer and commitment to God’s Word. He drew out the connections with Increase’s ‘golden thread’ of unity, love and respect, prayerfulness and focus on, and faithfulness to, God’s Word. The ‘seven pearls’ he compared with the ‘widows’ – issues and opportunities needing attention.
Speaking of the ‘seven pearls’ he said: “I like them really! I like them very much, and they are the practical outcome, they are now this ‘serving the widows’. What does love, unity and respect, prayerfulness and Word of God – mean in a specific ministry?“
His full address can be found in the above video. After his talk, participants first shared things that had struck them as significant, and these can be found here. Then table groups agreed together one question that they wanted to ask Dr Thomas, which you can find here. He responded to some of them and committed to responding to all of them later!
That was quite an undertaking as the questions included:
As Christians, we all share the same Holy Spirit, so why is there so much disunity? What will you suggest when God’s church faces the LGBTQ challenge? How to maintain unity, love and respect with people in real life?
Dr Thomas met separately over mealtimes with the Increase Committee, with those from Muslim majority countries, with those from Russia and the former Soviet Union, with representatives of the Malaysian National Evangelical Christian Fellowship, and with a number of individuals over coffee.