Many younger emerging Baptist leaders around the world long to attend an international conference and often hear of their leaders traveling to places they can only dream about. These younger leaders are usually not chosen to attend and do not have the resources themselves to pay the fare.
The Baptist World Alliance’s Living Water conferences have enabled hundreds of such younger leaders to be part of conferences on evangelism and leadership in various locations around the world. Since the Baptist World Congress in Birmingham, U.K., a number of Living Water conferences have been held in places as diverse as St Petersburg, Russia; Curitiba, Brazil; Nairobi, Kenya, Chiang Mai, Thailand; Dimapur, Nagaland, India; and Prague, Czech Republic. Soon one will be held in Freeport, Bahamas. Each has benefited from the participation of numbers of young leaders, recipients of scholarships from the Living Water funds.
One gratifying result of the Living Water conferences is the spontaneous follow-up that takes place as delegates return to their respective countries.
After attending the Living Water conference in Nagaland, the general secretary in Bhutan, Asnugo Nugo, conducted a Living Water conference for his pastors in Bhutan the following week.
After St Petersburg, the leader of Baptists in Moldova, Valeriu Ghiletchi held two very effective conferences on evangelism.
With their leader’s encouragement, the women of Africa conducted a Living Water conference in Kenya. The Youth Department of the All African Baptist Fellowship did likewise in Nigeria.
The concept of Christ the Living Water seems to have struck a very responsive chord among Baptists worldwide, and each conference has been effective, some even memorable.
The Living Water motif has been significant. As well being an evangelistic emphasis–that Christ offers water that will spring up within us to eternal life (John chapter 4)–the nourishing, refreshing water that Jesus the Christ offers is the sustenance that all of us need to partake of. We all need to drink deeply and daily from the well that never runs dry.
Living Water conferences are scheduled in many places between now and the next Baptist World Congress including Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and some regional groupings like the South West Pacific, the Balkans, Central America and South-East Asia.
Tony Cupit of Australia is coordinator of the Baptist World Alliance Living Water program.