This year the main Bible Readings were given by Vaughan Roberts from the book of Job. While the reasons for our sufferings might remain obscure and unknown, he exhorted us to put our faith and trust in God’s sovereign goodness and to look forward to the day when we will finally share in the glorious resurrection victory of the Lord Jesus.
Word Alive is a spiritual oasis for many families, and the 900 children were also taught Job in their groups, prompting searching questions and helpful family discussions. In the evenings there were encouraging expositions of the ‘I am’ sayings from John’s Gospel.
The range of seminars was as broad as ever. Issues addressed included Christian perseverance, singleness, debt, and care for the elderly in our churches. I found the series ‘Sex in the i-World’ given by Dale Kuehne hugely helpful, as he helped us to understand how and why our culture has abandoned biblical sexual morality and embraced a highly individual ethic rooted in identity politics. He provided wise guidance as to how churches might deal with contemporary challenges, such as the growth of the transgender community, and he urged the church to stand firm for its historic teaching within the context of a loving community. All the teaching can be purchased from the Word Alive shop: www.wordaliveevent.org
It was a huge encouragement to have over 800 students at the event and to hear how God is at work in colleges and universities. The ‘Uncover John’ project has helped many students share Christ with their friends, and Word Alive took the opportunity to launch it for churches. We were privileged to watch a performance of Darkness Falls, a powerful drama from the Saltmine Theatre Company, which tells the story of John’s Gospel with gritty realism. This will be available to churches next Easter. There was a large number of international students, many from China, and it was thrilling to hear of professions of faith among them during the week.
The Equip track, provided by the FIEC, Living Leadership and Proclamation Trust, provides training for leaders and enables those unable to attend the many helpful conferences for leaders during the year to benefit from the wisdom of experienced church leaders.
Alongside all the teaching, Word Alive is also a wonderful time for fun and relaxation.
This was the first year since 2012 that Word Alive had been held over a single week, and the site had a real buzz, with more people together at the same time. The event hopes to grow – by making the best use of off-site accommodation for 500 more people.
The dates for next year are 8–13 April. Bible Readings will be given by Ray Ortlund, of Immanuel Church in Nashville. Bookings open in July.