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Christian Fellowship and Conferences in Italy

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Christian fellowship is shared life, shared love, shared purpose, shared truth, and shared power. Our Lord Jesus Christ prayed that believers would be one together in God, even as the Father and Son are one (John 17:20–21). The basis of our fellowship is our shared spiritual life in the Triune God. It provides the foundation for our unity of mind, unity of mission, and unity of love. Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote, “Christian brotherhood is not an ideal which we must realize; it is rather a reality created by God in Christ in which we may participate.” Christians gathering together in harmony is precious, edifying, and even essential to God’s purposes in the world.

This is one of many reasons why conferences are an important ministry for many of the TMAI member schools. Through conferences, the one true gospel may be proclaimed in a unified manner and sound doctrine may be taught to hundreds or thousands at one time. Through conferences, believers may find strength and support from like-minded individuals who live too far away to gather together on a weekly basis. And through conferences, biblical truths are clarified and brought into sharp focus by gifted preachers and teachers for the edification of many.

Conferences have become flagship events for Italian Theological Academy (ITA). People are impacted, friendships are established and strengthened, and the truth unites. They allow ITA to highlight to a broader audience the biblical priorities for pastoral ministry, namely, preaching the Word and shepherding the flock. This spring their Shepherd the Flock conference reminded pastors and church leaders of the importance of gospel-saturated marriages. The sessions covered biblical themes of marriage, the biblical design of the local church, and how the gospel relates practically to these matters. The attendees enjoyed each other’s company and took the lessons they learned back to their home churches.

In Italy, and in many parts of the world, conferences are especially important because biblically sound churches are few and far between. They provide opportunities for likeminded believers to stir one another up to godliness and maturity in Christ. They provide rich fellowship and help equip the churches to do God’s work in a hostile world. Thanks to generous donor supporters, ITA is able to be a bastion of gospel light with the Preach the Word and Shepherd the Flock conferences. We pray that the ministry grows exponentially and brings much hope to Sicily. We also rejoice in the role that TMAI supporters play in making these conferences possible. The Shepherd the Flock conference in the spring could not have taken place apart from your support. That is another evidence of the reality of our Christian brotherhood. It is surely the shared life of God that brings together, with one mind and mission, those who go and those who send.