Dave Holden began by giving tribute to Terry and Wendy Virgo. We are not saying goodbye to them. As we are going into a new phase together so they are going into a new phase for them as well. They will continue to bring input into us. We choose to turn to them and say “we are so glad you are still around, we want your input, please speak into our lives.” However, we need to release them to be those who shape not only this family of churches, but others all around the world. The more we release them, the more doors will open for them.
We are praying for them, that these next years will be far more fruitful than all the years they have served us put together. This era is over Newfrontiers is in really good hands. If Terry and Wendy can walk away from it, that shows the confidence you can have in those you have fathered. David specifically thanked Wendy for all her hours of love, support and prayer. Her constant enthusiasm and excitement, a childlike faith about everything. If it wasn’t for Terry there are lots of people who would never be in a room like this. He has lead us with such an amazing example and model for all of us how we should lead. “We want to do it the way you have.”
There was then a spontaneous ovation for Terry and Wendy, which is not something we typically do.
Dave used to always be the young guy, which meant he usually opened events like this. Now he is old and he gets to close it. He has spent the whole week listening to amazing teaching and wondering if there is anything left to say. It is important that we end this conference by looking forward. In 2008 Mark Driscoll urged us to consider our future, as there is a danger of a movement like this becoming a monument. One aspect of our response to this is the end of a conference. It is also the end of the way we have worked so far. From now on things will be different. You can go through a whole conference and think things will go on the same. It wont. It will look different, feel different, be different. If people don’t say things have changed something is wrong. Things have to change in the magnitude of what we do.
There are some people who we think of as being in the premier league. We have seen ourselves as little league people. From now on, it is as though we move into the premier league. Play differently, see things differently, different view of ourselves. It is not elitist. But there are a whole load of people watching us. They are wondering whether this transition will work. There is something negative about always seeing yourself in the lower leagues. It is God who is promoting us and saying now it is time to really move forward. We know our past. We are uncertain of our future. As one apostolic ministry multiplies into many it is no well-worn paths again.
Is there a connection between our past and our future? Some remarkable similarities. Going to be obviously Newfrontiers. David saw a picture recently of him at 18. Once David was very thin, he had dark hair, the old picture is like looking at his son Daniel. So much of him that is there in his son. The way he stands, turns. Similar with his sister. We carry into our future a certain DNA, a heritage, legacy, foundation, experience. People will still be honoring the continuity. Are there treasures to be kept alive? Paul takes things from the past and entrusts them to Timothy for a future he knows he will not see. 1 Tim 6:20. Guard what has been entrusted to your care. 2 Tim 2:2. Entrust to reliable men who can teach others. Many other new faces are yet to be added to the picture. This is not a static team that will be the same for ever. This thing called Newfrontiers will keep multiplying.
Those who have been involved since the beginning would make this our prayer. “Make our joy complete.” The way to do this is how we have stayed together this far. There have always been many strong men with strong calling, and a strong sense of call. Yet we have chosen to stay together and remain one. Now you go and do likewise.
Five phrases that form the foundation of how this will work
1. Being like-minded. You can be an individual with strong views but be like-minded. Agreement, compatible, harmonious, in accord, of one mind, unanimous, en rapport. On the same wavelength. On the same page. Three areas that have aided our like-mindedness that will continue:
a. History You cannot ignore our common story. It is your story now. Full of experiences, challenges, lessons, joys. It is what holds us together. Very foolish to walk away from all those experiences.
b. Values Agreed together. They are biblical values more than they are “Newfrontiers values.” They are not imposed upon us. They are freely embraced by all of us. Values may be worked out differently. Terry’s latest book is saying “Here is the kind of church we believe in, and these are it’s values.”
c. The prophetic These prophecies have never been about one man, one team, or one generation. We carry these words about bows and arrows, being an Armada, millions of pounds, millions of people. They shape us. They have yet to be completely fulfilled. The UK apostolic guys are still going to be coming together. The real purpose of that is because of the prophetic. So for example, 1000 churches will not come from one apostolic sphere.
2. Having the same love Relationships. If these friendships are not there, no future exists for us. Newfrontiers will not survive without relationships. It is our choice to work relationally. We are a relational people joined together. Investing time, energy and money to stay together. Not about meetings. Most done outside of a conference. They go to lots of meetings when they travel. But it is also about being with people and sharing life. If all we do is bounce off one another in meetings we will not see the desires that we have become a reality. Paul’s affection for his churches is quite overwhelming. He talks about brothers, names and a family. People have watched with genuine envy over the years at our relationships. The fun we have, the way we tease one another, the depth of fellowship. It is very attractive. It is such a strong part of our past this affection. So for example when Simon Petit died even those who had never spoken with him felt the pain of the loss. Future relationships is not guaranteed. But it sure is in our DNA. These relationships must go higher in our priority for the future. There are lots of movements that have no relationships. Because we are full of weakness we need one another. You get a lot of fun! Dave was being “bigged up” by someone who was introducing him and his wife tugged on his trousers and said “if half of those things he just said about you were true I would have never married you.” We are all human. Stop taking yourself so seriously! We have had so much fun together. There is genuine sacrifice and cost, it is real. Though that is real so is this as well. 3.
Being one in Spirit Ephesians 4:3 It is the Person of the Holy Spirit. Beyond doctrine, our likes and dislikes, prophetic there is a work of the Spirit. We come from different backgrounds, it is supernaturally held together. It was birthed in the Holy Spirit. It was maintained by the Spirit. This must be part of our future. We want more Holy Spirit rather than less. We are not dialing down on the things of the Holy Spirit. We want to be filled with the Spirit, drenched with the Spirit. 4.
One in purpose We are together on a mission. Transition and multiplication is for us the next phase in us playing our part in fulfilling the Commission. We are only one small part of the glorious church. Have we fulfilled our church planting purpose? No! There is so much to be done. Have we finished making disciples? No. Do we need to train more leaders? Yes! Our purpose goes with us from our past and into our future. 5.
The right attitudes to one another v5 What was the attitude? No grasping equality, making himself as nothing, making himself a servant. It is a kind of death moment. In order for us to do this, we must die to my reputation, my ego, my ministry. It is not about me and mine it is about us. V9 Nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Self-promotion, and being puffed up, building things to me as a person, being territorial. 1 Corinthians 3:4 Neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything. The reality can be something different. Who are we? We are servants! There is a godly ambition that glorifies God, there is a selfish ambition which glorifies myself. If there are any of us that have selfish ambition it is time to get rid of it for the sake of what we can do together. We must think of others as better than ourselves. Look to the interests of others. Independent spheres doing their own thing is not the atmosphere of the NT. Mutual interdependence. Not about doing their own thing. Accountability is crucial.
Dave hopes that the new apostolic teams will still feel that they want their teams to know that they can go and talk to someone else if they are not happy with them, that they will have accountability into their lives, marriages, and ministries. A generous spirit is needed. We are meant to be interdependent. People are to be shared between us as well. Away with competition. This attitude that was there in Christ Jesus.
Verse 9 speaks about the resurrection. Because of his willingness to not grasp equality God highly exalts him. The death of something resulted in he is raised from the dead. Death and seed int eh ground produces new life, more fruit and multiplication. John 12:23. If it dies it produces many seeds. We die to something and the result will be increase, life, many seeds. To get to Stoneleigh we had to die to the small minded mentality of “small group of churches in the south of England.” We had to die to close Stoneleigh. All that we are today because we died to something then. Today is no exception. Today we die again, and we will see multiplication again. The small becomes large. An acorn becomes a forest. Of the increase of Jesus’ government and peace there will be no end.