New Room Conference is a yearly gathering of pastors, leaders, and lay people to seek God’s presence for renewal and transformation. New Room is not a leadership training event- though a deeper walk with God will likely lead to being a better leader. The gathering certainly comes from a Wesleyan theological strain, you won’t hear any church politics from the stage of the conference. This gathering is about going deeper with God.
This is my third time in the last six years of attending New Room. This year, Andrea is with me, which is the first time for any conference I’ve attended.
There were several highlights from the opening half-day of sessions.
Peter Grieg from the 24/7 Prayer Movement was the first to speak. He shared on prayer, which is not surprising when you lead a 24/7 prayer movement. He spoke from Genesis 18 when Abraham prayed for Sodom and Gomorrah. Key to the message was the emphasis of Abraham standing before God. Grieg said that “99% of prayer is showing up.”
The second speaker was another Brit, Miriam Swaffield. I had never heard of Miriam, but she was a powerhouse. Full of energy and passion, she would be quite humorous then bring something so profound. She spoke on holiness and how, perhaps, we’ve misunderstood holiness. I may write on this more, but in essence she said- Holiness is often believed to be something where were are separate from anything that would make us unclean. She suggest that instead, holiness is the bleach that makes things clean. Her example was Jesus talking with Matthew the tax collector. If holiness is being separate, then Jesus would not have gone to see Matthew. Instead, because holiness works like bleach because you put it on things that need to be clean, Jesus went to Matthew and so many others.
Miriam led a powerful time of prayer afterwards as we commissioned one another to take the holiness of God into our communities.
In the evening, worship leader Chris Tomlin led an acoustic set. The place was loud with praise (for God…and maybe a little for Tomlin). Jack Deere then shared his life story and the importance of developing a deep relationship/experience with God that sustains us through the darkest valleys.
It was a great first and I’m excited to hear Alan Hirsch speak on day 2. He is one of my favorite theologians and thinkers when it comes to the church.