At the opening of the 2022 Brunstad Christian Church (BCC) International Women’s Conference held in March, Kåre J Smith, the leader of BCC, heartily welcomed all to the conference. Radiating with joy and warmth he said how extremely happy everyone was to be together again at Brunstad in Norway, after such a long separation due to Covid.
In his message Smith spoke of the love that God has for people – God is love. Quoting from the New Testament in the Bible, from 1 John 4:16, he said this love has nothing to do with feelings, but with faith in God and His Word. Love is a driving force, and remaining in love means remaining in God, doing His will and doing away with all demands on others, selfishness, being offended and so on. Remaining in God leads to a new life of no longer living for oneself, but living for others, helping and thinking about what is good for them; being able to do good and bear evil. Referring to 1 Cor.13:4-8 in the New Testament, he said, love is clearly defined in these verses. Love never fails because God is love and He never fails!
For those not attending in person, the conference was streamed live to all BCC churches around the world. Each church organised their own activities which took place in-between the three church services over the course of the weekend. One of the highlights of the conference was an informal discussion with Kåre J Smith on the “obedience of faith”. This was held on the Saturday night and included short film clips, edifying messages and songs and dinner.
From an African perspective almost all the BCC fellowships in Africa, namely Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda, were able to watch all the live streamed church services. Another highlight of the conference was the special Breakfast Broadcast from South Africa streamed worldwide, which included an edifying song sung by members from various African fellowships and an informal table discussion with an encouraging message from Tielman Slabbert (the leader of BCC in South Africa).
Members from some of the BCC fellowships in Africa related how they experienced the conference in their local fellowship… the messages, activities and what they got out of it:
The atmosphere at the conference was relaxed. All the church services were watched online on BrunstadTV at the missionary centre followed by a time for local testimonies, this was very edifying. A prayer meeting was held at the end of the conference.
Regarding activities – an art and craft workshop was organised and participants painted table placemats and some enjoyed knitting different items, and for the energetic ones there was a Zumba dance class.
“It was such a blessed time of fellowship together. No matter what happens around us in the world we have time to work within ourselves to be completely free of sin!”
Everyone really appreciated being able to watch the conference on BrunstadTV. On the Saturday after the Breakfast Broadcast various activities were arranged such as singing, time for fellowship, as well as a training session on how to access BrunstadTV, BMM and ActiveChristianity on cellphone apps.
“I am so grateful for the conference and the Word of God that I heard. I want to be patient and humble so that God’s Word can take control of my life. I really long for a pure heart and mind.”
“I am awakened to the simplicity and humility of a life in Christ Jesus in my daily situations. I have decided to walk on this way, and Christ has promised to be with me, so I believe in Him and it shall succeed one day at a time.”
“I thank God for this very blessed conference. I have been strengthened and encouraged to trust in Jesus and follow Him wherever He leads without any fear. I was also enlightened about what love is. Loving Jesus means doing His commandments, loving my brothers and sisters unconditionally just as Jesus first loved me while I was still a sinner. Thank you very much for this conference.”
“I was enthusiastic about receiving God’s Word at the conference and that I could be together with all the women from my home fellowship again.”
The relaxed and informal atmosphere at the conference was perfect for good, endearing fellowship across all age groups and it was plain to see how everyone enjoyed being together again! There was a range of activities organised from playing squash and baseball for the young and energetic, to more tranquil activities such as a Pilates class and watercolour art class.
“I am very thankful for all the online meetings we had during the pandemic, but nothing compares with seeing the hall at Brunstad full again. Kåre Smith’s powerful message about love made it clear that we can only say we are disciples of Jesus if we love one another, just as Jesus loves us. During the conference I experienced this love while doing activities together, and in the fellowship we had at mealtimes and throughout the weekend, and I was again reminded of the heritage we have in one another and the blessing of such a conference.“