I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a refreshing New Year. These ‘slow’ weeks of the year are a great opportunity for Christians to be involved in a whole raft of activities. Some people head off to beach and urban missions, others to youth camps and some spend the first week of January at CMS Summer School.
What is CMS Summer School? It is the annual Church Missionary Society of NSW meeting of missionaries who are home for Deputation, with CMS mission supporters.
How does Summer School work? Each day approximately 4000 adults and 2000 children descend upon the KCC (Katoomba Christian Convention) site in Katoomba. The day begins at 9am. Families with children drop their children off to their excellent programs as they head to the main site. At 9am songs are sung and the program begins. Usually we meet a missionary or two each day and spend time praying for missionaries in each of the CMS regions of the world. After this we spend time listening to the Word of God being read and preached. Morning tea ends the first session of the day and then attendees can choose from a wide range of missionary talks which are located around the KCC site. Afternoons at summer school can be full of catch-ups with friends or simply enjoying the area around Katoomba. Evenings include a second series of Bible teaching and another range of missionary sessions. The ‘Summer School’ routine runs for 6 excellent days.
What was taught from the Bible this year? In the morning Dr John Yates III, rector of Holy Trinity Raleigh in the US, spoke from Romans 1-8. His series was encouraging and a great compliment to the series we had at SNAC last year. We were reminded not to be ashamed of the gospel. In the evenings Dr John Azumah, an ordained Presbyterian from the US and expert in reaching Muslims, spoke about the ‘5 Faces of Islam’ and his experience of becoming a Christian out of a Muslim background.
Why should you go to Summer School in 2016? If I haven’t already tempted you to book in for next year, then let me add that there is a growing contingent of SNAC members at Summer School and the mid-week SNAC lunch alone is a great reason to go along. Add in the excellent CMS NSW program and the opportunity to encourage our missionaries and how could you not go?
But don’t just take my word for it. This is what Nicola Ramsay, a member of Church in the Bank, had to say:
“To hear someone say they’d willingly choose to spend a week of their summer at school seems crazy - unless you’re talking about the Christian conference called ‘Summer School’ recently held in Katoomba. Summer School has a special focus on mission, whether in Australia or around the world and is organised by the Church Missionary Society (CMS).
Thousands of people under one roof, hearing the Bible preached, praying together, praising God in song and hearing from missionaries from all over the world. There is nothing quite like it. I know of no other conference with such an emphasis on proclaiming the Gospel, world mission and crosscultural ministry. And you will gain a better understanding of what is happening in the world than you would from any newspaper or SBS.
This year’s focus was on long term mission. Mission is best done in the context of relationship and sometimes these relationships can take years to develop. It was encouraging to hear of the first ever National Training Event in France less than ten years ago, with just 6 students, which has now grown to 150 students in total! It is so important to train up local leaders in order to partner in the Gospel.
This year, we heard talks from Romans and Jonah, as well as presentations on the many faces of Islam and the way we can respond to these. We were encouraged to think about long term partnership with missionaries - through prayer, communication and financially; and challenged to share God’s heart for the Gospel and not have a heart like Jonah.
If you have never been to Summer School before (and even if you have!), I encourage you to come along next year, for the whole week or even just to visit for a day or two. It’s a great encouragement to be an active supporter of mission and you never know, it may just be the first step in a journey that leads you to the ends of the earth bearing the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ!”
If you are interested in attending summer school 2016 then keep an eye on http://www.nswsummerschool.org.au/ for details to come out and start looking for your accommodation now!