For those that are unaware of NWA, it’s a week long conference/festival where Christians from all over the place come and take in biblical teaching from a variety of speakers from around the globe on a diverse range of issues. This year for instance saw us study of the book of Acts in the morning celebrations (9:30am or 11:30m if you fancied a lie in), the exploration of the heroes of faith in the book of Hebrews (for example, Noah, Moses and Abraham) in the evening celebrations and a wide range of seminars during the day discussing amongst other things, how we can conquer ongoing and seemingly unwinnable battles with sin by dwelling of the truth of what Jesus is and what he has done for us. As well as all that, there was compelling testimony from Nigerian bishop Ben Kwashi, whose interview at an evening celebration gave insight into how he and his loved ones have suffered tremendously for their faith, yet incredibly by the power of God can still remain steadfast. Indeed, such was the breadth and depth of topics on offer at NWA that even the most fervently keen theologian would be satisfied with what was on offer at this festival. Indeed, what I have mentioned here is merely a snippet of what one could choose to attend.
Much to chew on throughout then, yet one could attend as much or as little as one chose. For some perhaps, maybe the morning celebration was enough, and the rest of the day could be wiled away in reflection on the beaches of Pwiheli.
For me, the quality of teaching was a key highlight, not least due to it’s relevance to everyday life after NWA, meaning that despite the meatiness of the issues discussed, everyone who attended was challenged. The aforementioned evening celebration looking at Hebrews is a prime example, in that we were challenged to think about how faith now applies to a fulfilment we might not see in this life but on the day of judgement and into the next life. That is, we were encouraged put our faith in the sacrifice of Jesus and the promises of God linked to that (that is, we are seen as righteous and will spend eternity with God. Thus, we were encouraged to have confidence in the finished work of Christ so that we might keep going in this life and finish the race. It was great to hear that Christ is enough to help us in whatever we might be facing now, or in the future.
This is not to say that teaching was the only thing going on at NWA. As well as celebrations and seminars to satisfy most theological and spiritual itches, there was a dizzying range of recreational activities on offer, from a comprehensive bookshop,a 5 a side football tournament to a range of musical gigs in the evening to match most tastes, from the acoustic to the bangin’! Indeed, even the esteemed dance music DJ and producer Andy Hunter graced NWA with a live performance! Films were also covered, with screenings of the critically acclaimed ‘Inception’ and the Oscar nominated animation film, The Illusionist. Plenty do then if you had enough energy in the evening after the celebrations and seminars!
Even the weather was nice (well, some of the time anyway), meaning those that felt the urge could have a dip,or even a fully immersed swim in the Pwiheli sea! And the Haven holiday park accommodation proved more than capable of facilitating the 5000 guests, having amenities to satisfy most needs.
But more than all this, NWA 2011 proved overall to be a time of real challenge and encouragement, where those who attended saw how the truths of Christ apply today and in the future, and how even in times where we may be persecuted for our faith we can draw great comfort from Christ, for he also suffered on this earth and was persecuted by many. Much to think about, pray about and act upon then for the attendees of NWA 2011.