Dubai isn't the first place you might think of when you hear the words 'Church Conference' but this unusual venue served as the most convenient of locations to welcome hub members from all over the world. There was a truly global feel to the event which is organised by Regions Beyond every 2 years. As a church we’re currently exploring joining Regions Beyond, so it was exciting for us to catch a glimpse of what might lie ahead.

Having arrived at the wrong venue on the first morning, we eventually found our way to the chosen location and were immediately struck by the depth of relationship that was already in the room. There were hand shakes, hugs, laughing, deep conversations and genuine warmth. Delegates from all over the world were reigniting old relationships or creating new ones. 

As the week went on, we witnessed some incredible stories of what God is doing through Regions Beyond. Some of the stories were uncomfortable and laced with suffering, yet always full of hope, and many others were remarkable testimonies of how God is transforming lives through church planting across the globe. Perhaps the defining theme across these accounts was one of solidarity. It transpired the hugs and handshakes weren't just a nice warm feeling  but something much more profound. Here was a group of churches on mission together, supporting each other through prayer, people and financial provision! 

Our visit to The Hub 2017 finished with a challenging message from Daniel Macleod, words of wisdom from Terry Virgo and an inspiring insight into the vision of Regions Beyond by leader Steve Oliver. There was dancing, lots of dancing, and a host of colours and costumes as delegates were encouraged to wear their national dress. There are even unconfirmed reports that Owen was wearing his Jamaica T-shirt for the occasion!

I had approached my first encounter with Regions Beyond with an open mind, unsure as to what to expect. Upon my return, I am convinced they are a family of churches that go 'beyond' what is comfortable for one another. They are united, bold, relational and focused on carrying the gospel to the nations through the local church and church planting, Would it be a comfortable ride if we joined them? Perhaps not... but it would be an exciting one! 

Curious to find out more about Regions Beyond? Why not join them at their morning prayer every Thursday at 10:30am – 12:00 noon at Westminster Chapel.