The Hub 201728 Nov 2017
By Nicki Ward
Being new to both Dubai, and Regions Beyond, I had no clue what all the excitement and buzz was at City Hill about the upcoming Hub. I was just told I must go! I soon learnt that 180 delegates from around the world were coming together over a week to, as Steve Oliver said, “Sharpen our call to the nations”. Nothing could have prepared me for the amazing time it was, and for how much God, often through the lives of others, would challenge me and meet with me over the course of the week.
I decided if I was going, it was best to go all in, and so I volunteered to host a couple, and to attend all five days. We had the privilege of hosting Antoine and Mathy Musemena from the DRC. They pastor a church and run a junior school in their home city, under often incredibly tough circumstances. Their testimony, and just getting to know and love them, was in itself life changing and humbling. My husband and I have lived in Africa (Zimbabwe and then South Africa) for the past 24 years, and it was a special blessing to spend time with this spirit-filled couple from our beloved Continent.
I was a little nervous but excited to learn more about how Regions Beyond operates. I have spent most of my adult life in Africa as part of a more traditional denomination. This year God has been stretching me in my understanding of church, and given me an excitement and expectation. However, my word based, but less Spirit free, background made me cautious.
The Hub began with us gathering for prayer in the morning for a couple of days before the conference. This was an amazing time of joy where old friends reconnected, an excitement and vision was shared for what was to come, and of the privilege of corporate prayer.
It was amazing to all meet together on Thursday night for the opening meeting. City Hill already represents so many nations, but it was wonderful to be standing shoulder to shoulder with believers that had travelled from Africa, Asia, America, and Europe to be together. Many were church leaders and church planters with enriching stories to share. My husband and I really enjoyed it each night when leaders who were planting or supporting church plants in new areas were interviewed, and we got to hear their remarkable testimonies of what God was doing. A highlight of the week for me was hearing Daniel Macleod preach this first night. He brought to us an incredible depth of preaching the word with challenging and Spirit-filled application.
Friday morning was a lovely combination of both Gateway and City Hill congregations, and our Regions Beyond family. Steve Oliver introduced us to all the churches in our movement from around the world in an inspiring film during a Nations Focus. It was exciting to be part of God’s reaching of the nations. We were then introduced, and prayed for, the leaders planting new churches. To see the gospel advance and our vision reaching out into the nations, despite all the challenges, was incredible. His preach later brought clarity and definition to us as Regions Beyond and our vision for the future.
Terry Virgo brought a message on ‘Celebrating God’s Wonderful Grace’. Having read some of his books, it was great to hear him speak passionately from Galatians on grace, acknowledging how Paul fought hard for freedom from the law in the church 2000 years ago, and Luther fought a similar fight 500 years ago, and how we should together avoid slipping back into the bondage of legalism. Saturday morning was a really special time where we could select 2 out of 8 seminars on offer. I found it hard to choose, but am so pleased all were recorded and already on the Regions Beyond website.
Our time was bitter sweet on Saturday night – more amazing praise and worship and excitement for our vision and the future, but a sadness that our precious time at the Hub was coming to an end.
These five days have been life changing to me. I have seen Regions Beyond and its leadership in action, and feel such a relief and freedom that churches can be founded solidly on the word and also have freedom in the Spirit, seeing both work together in a way I’ve not previously experienced. There is a freedom in how the Regions Beyond movement operates with passion, mutual love and accountability. They can move where God’s Spirit leads. God gave me a picture of my previous denomination being like a heavy ship moving slowly, compared now to a racing yacht, with a spirit led team enthusiastically listening and responding quickly to God’s call to reach “Regions Beyond”. I feel privileged to be part of this movement and would recommend anyone to attend the next Hub!