AN APPOINTED TIME: A 2016 Every Nation World Conference Recap
In chapter 23 of the often avoided book of Leviticus, God commands that certain seasons and days be set apart as “appointed times,” where His people would gather together for a specific purpose. On some of these occasions, you’d have people from distant cities and nations all converging in one place simply to honour God and celebrate what He has done in their lives as a people.
The World Conference felt very much like one of those appointed times for the Every Nation family as we—a people scattered yet undivided—gathered in Cape Town, South Africa, for a God party. Much like those biblical appointed times, God’s word was read and taught, God’s works were declared through testimonies, and God’s praises were sung by His people. And of course, there was plenty feasting, especially as there was a Nando’s Chicken right next to the conference venue.
I had many highlights concerning worship over the course of the conference; however, two highlights in particular stuck out above the rest. The first was that we gathered on African soil for the first time. For us Africans, this was as momentous an occasion as when Rafiki held baby Simba up on Pride Rock in The Lion King. Enough said!
The second was the wonderful fact that we sang songs written by writers within the Every Nation family. There are songs and sounds arising from every corner of the globe, and for a brief moment we got to hear and sing them. For a week, we all shared in and agreed with the testimonies and confessions of our brothers and sisters from all over the world through song. Together we demonstrated that our God is one. He is the same in Asia as He is in Africa.
The third happened when I was sitting around the dinner table with a Filipino, an American, an Indian, and a half-Japanese-half-Colombian, teaching them how to sing a Zulu worship song. In that moment it dawned on me that what we were participating in was quite uncommon, yet a witness to what the church is called to be and will be one day. Every nation, tribe, and tongue gathered together to worship the Lamb. All that was missing was a Mastercard logo, because that moment was priceless. It was such a joyous reminder of who we are and what we have as a family. Some people live their lives having never had such stories or experiences, yet for us it’s a part of our culture. What a gift!