Hello church planters
It wasn’t a New Year’s resolution, but it was time. For two days I systematically worked through documents on every topic imaginable with Bible study outlines, sermon notes, strategic plans, reports, etc – and on the last day of 2014 dumped thousands of files. There were class notes from courses I taught as a college lecturer, outlines for 100s of pastors’ meetings, documents from Christian-Muslim conferences and dialogue sessions that I had organised.
For decades I conducted public evangelistic meetings as a primary means of reaching secular people with the gospel. So there was a 4-draw filing cabinet full of carefully collated plans for dozens of evangelistic programs in cities in Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Pakistan, Poland, Finland, Croatia, England, Serbia, Hungary, Albania, Sudan, Macedonia, Norway, etc. There were management committee procedures, advertising brochures, scripts for radio and television promos, ticketing and booking arrangements, and records of the impact of each. There were pictures of team members – and the scripts of hundred of evangelistic sermons. (Judy always said I preached the ‘everlasting gospel’ – with no end! And, I confess, one diary records more than 500 evangelistic sermons in one year!) Many of these evangelistic programs led to new disciples, and the planting of new churches.
There was also a 4-draw filing cabinet full of church growth ideas and church planting – community, emerging, missional. There were plans for local church plants, and strategies for districts, countries, and continents. Every page reminded me of new churches – in community centres, in university lecture theatres, in homes, under homes, in crowded apartment blocks, in villages, in school classrooms, under trees, in city parks, restaurants, cafes, and newly erected church buildings. There were planning documents for church planting summits and X-Changes in over 40 countries: lists of themes, plenary sessions, workshops, presenters, case-studies, etc. I relived experiences with hundred of people (many young), making new disciples for Jesus.
Many of these files are now stored electronically (it’s a great space-saver keeping them in the cloud, wherever that may be!), but for me, reviewing them was significant. They represented visions, hopes and dreams – each within a context. These files catalogued enormous change – in society, church, and life. Even in the 1970s we couldn’t have imagined the impact that the social turmoil of the post-World War II 1960s would have upon society. While new forms of Christendom (both Catholic and Protestant) are evolving to dominate large sections of the world, the once modern Christian Global North is now not only stridently post-Christendom, but post-Christian (even anti-Christian) and postmodern. This is the more difficult form of paganism of which Lesslie Newbigin spoke and wrote.
Where it is effective, I still love sharing the gospel publicly to make disciples. But, post-Christian, post-Christendom post-moderns compel us to review the methods that worked in the 1970s, 80s and even 90s. We are challenged to return to Jesus’ example and practices to make disciples who multiply – and in planting multiplying churches.
In this New Year, I encourage you to be intentional in following Jesus’ example in disciple making and movement buildings. His method still works – in all cultures and societies!
Be courageous & faithful,
CHURCH PLANTING NEWS – 02 Jan 2015
For stories: go to www.facebook.com/newchurchlife.
How did we spend Christmas? A friend and his wife live in a county bearing the scars of sectarian war – currently devastated by floods. They visited a poor community where they had prepared children to tell the nativity story. In between rain showers grandparents, parents, uncles and aunts gathered. My friend was also able to briefly share. He writes: ‘I was thrilled I could proclaim the gospel in the open-air again … The gospel is truly good news that transforms lives’. They handed out cup cakes, sweets and lollipops to the families – and also visited and prayed in five homes, sharing ‘a few home baked goodies’. ‘We returned to our respective homes, glad to have shared the love of Christ this way’, he writes. ‘What a way to celebrate Christmas. I thank God for His amazing grace to let us share Christmas with the poor and those who do not know Jesus!’
Equipping Resources & Opportunities
Bible Lands Study Tour – 15-30 June 2015: follow the disciple making path of Jesus – a great opportunity to walk where Jesus walked! Why not plan to take this opportunity. For more information contact email@example.com
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Shift:m2M in Victoria, Australia: Shift:m2M is a journey on which Christian leaders intentionally shift from doing ministry to cultivating movements by following Jesus’ example –
- Resources are provided (reading guides, podcasts, videos) to explore the life of Jesus as it unfolded – from beginning to end.
- Live-in retreats at key intervals provide opportunity to process and apply the discoveries being made.
- At the end some are equipped as facilitators to multiply the process with others – and each year or two the opportunity is given to visit Israel to walk in the steps of Jesus.
For more information check out – http://www.movementbuilders.com.au/introducing-shiftm2m/
Retreat dates for 2015-16 in Melbourne are: 7-8 MAY, 28-30 JULY, 19-20 OCT (2015) and 23-24 FEB (2016).
Shift:m2M in Europe: Preliminary plans are in place for Shift:m2M to be launched in Europe this year (2015) – with resources available for participants in August and the first retreat planned for late October. For more information contact Peter Roennfeldt (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Bill Hodgson (email@example.com)
Making Disciples by Planting Churches: SPD Church Planting Conference with Wayne Krause: 27-29 January 2015. For registration and more information go to: https://events.adventist.org.au/Registration/Event/496
Pacific Reach Movement – Planting Churches that Multiply Conferences in Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga between February 8 and March 8, 2015 – with Peter Roennfeldt: The disciple making methods of Jesus will be put into practice, conference participants will learn how to gather new disciples into new multiplying churches. For registration and more information contact: Maveni Kaufononga MaveniKaufononga@adventist.org.fj
Planting Churches that Multiply Conferences in Africa – Rwanda (22-29 March), Uganda (29 March – 5 April), Burundi (5-12 April) – with Peter Roennfeldt. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Multiply Australia – May 29 – June 1, 2015: Ying and Grace Kai with Steve and Laura Smith, authors of T4T: A Discipleship Re-Revolution, will be in Sydney, Australia. Ying and Grace have been at the centre of the fastest growing movement of church planting in recent history – and Steve and Lara have extensive experience in church planting movements. Contact Tim Scheuer, Australian Field Leader for Move, for registration details: email@example.com
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