I get tired of the criticism of church planters and those on the cutting edge of evangelism. Of course I know that Jesus faced this – and Paul and Barnabas were confronted with the demoralising attacks of the ‘sect of the pharisees’ when they returned from their first missionary
I am inspired and encouraged by reports of lost people being touched with the message of God’s love and salvation. You will enjoy the report of ‘Søernes Aftenskole’ (evening school) at CafeChurch by Helle Rechter. This is proving to be a massive project – taking a lot of hard work and dedication – but, it is for the sake of lost people! You will be encouraged by the story of Cottage Beck going to the House of Commons.
When ‘Cottage Beck Cafe Church’ opened its doors – Isobel and Bryan Webster never imagined that the doors to the House of Commons would be opened to them because of their involvement in the community. “God seems to be using the Cafe to build community,” says Isobel. Again – this is for lost people!
‘Gym Fellowship’ planter Laverne Byng suggests special prayer for each other. She suggests that all church planters dedicate a time to pray and fast “for unity amongst us and for outpouring of God’s Spirit.”
Laverne writes, “I thought maybe we could dedicate a particular day or a particular week. In that way we can come together – though we’re not physically together. All across Europe groups of church planters could gather that week or day and pray. It will be a special time. Ellen White says that ‘companies of christian workers should gather to ask for special help for heavenly wisdom, that they may know how to plan and execute wisely.'” Does this sound like a good idea? Let me know what you think and we will suggest a time!
I think you will enjoy this NEWS.
PS: Apologies. This NEWS is a little long. I have been visiting pastors and planters in the Middle East – and was out of e/m contact for some of the time.
CHURCH PLANTING NEWS – 30 Oct 03
In this NEWS –
# ‘COTTAGE BECK’ GOES TO ‘HOUSE OF COMMONS’
# CafeCHURCH – MAKING NEW CONTACTS THROUGH ‘Søernes Aftenskole’!
# SPECIAL PRAYER REQUESTS – FOR OUR FRIENDS SUE & MICHAEL and FOR IAN HAMILTON’S ‘ALPHA’ GROUPS …
# NEW LIFE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY – REACHING NEW PEOPLE # CAIRO CHURCH PLANT GROWING!
# YEOVIL SMALL GROUP – EXPECTING ‘TWINS’
# THE JOURNEY OF A CHURCH PLANTER
# MARTIN VUKMANIC HAS BEEN IN FINLAND
# LINDESBERG – PUBLIC PRESENTATION ATTRACTS VISITORS # STOCKHOLM CELL CHURCH – OUT IN THE STREETS!
# FOCUS launches “100% Children”
# BLUE – makes the choice to make a difference!
# HOPE COMMUNITY – THANKS COMMUNITY!
# LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE IN SWEDEN – FOLLOW-UP FOR CHURCH PLANTING STUDY TOUR PARTICIPANTS!
# RESOURCE FOR THOSE PREPARING BIBLE MESSAGES
‘COTTAGE BECK’ GOES TO ‘HOUSE OF COMMONS’
This week Tuesday – Cottage Beck Cafe Church planters Bryan and Isobel Webster were sent by the Humberside Probation Service to House of Commons for the launch a new Government initiative regarding the punishment of offenders. “Cottage Beck Cafe Church was invited by the Probation Service to represent Humberside because, out of all the placements they have for offenders working out their community service orders, Cafe Church is the one they are most happy with,” writes Isobel. “They feel it is really making an impact on the community, and they feel they can place quite difficult cases with us.” The Probation Service has even paid some of the people they send to do special courses for the benefit of Cottage Beck’s ministries. One such person now comes to work in the Cafe as a volunteer each week – and her husband has assisted with some building work.
The Head of Probation for Humberside has also visited the Cafe.
CafeCHURCH – MAKING NEW CONTACTS THROUGH ‘Søernes Aftenskole’!
CafeChurch (Copenhagen) is breaking new ground and reaching more lost people through their first season of evening school – Søernes Aftenskole. “We originally stated that if half of the activities in the programme were signed up for, we would be content…but actually, all activities but one have been successful in signing up the number of participants required in order to start out successfully,” says the director Helle Rechter. Feedback from participants have helped in clarifying who they are really reaching.
CafeChurch Søernes Aftenskole are negotiating with (possibly) the largest evening school network in Copenhagen. Such an arrangement would give opportunity to communicate with their lists to reach 25,000 in the spring sason – and up to 350,000 in the autumn of 2004 without any cost for us. “We are praying for this,” says Helle.
“In choosing the activities for the next season (January-May) we have found inspiration in what we learned in Finland,” Helle says. “For example, a few of the activites will focus on children – baking cakes; having tea parties with children and parents; a musical programme involving playing, learning and rythym for toddlers and parents; and a lecture on child upbringing.” Other courses include – a gospel workshop, two biblical courses, a dance workshop etc etc.
Community people are participating. One activity will be to visit a renowned museum in Copenhagen where 60 % of the art in the museum is of religious origin and the leader of the museum is a Christian. She has agreed to show people around and give a talk on the topic “art in a new light – the religiousness in the art.”
SPECIAL PRAYER REQUESTS –
## FOR OUR FRIENDS SUE & MICHAEL …
Church planters who were at the X-Change in Finland will not have forgotten Sue (Time Banking) and Michael (chef) from Cottage Beck. Michael has been struggling to get permanent work in the tough economic environment of Scunthorpe – and Sue has been struggling with her health. They are being encourage in a weekly small group with Andrew and Eija – and both have separate Bible Studies with Bryan Webster. But – everyone – stop and pray for them each day!
## FOR IAN HAMILTON’S ‘ALPHA’ GROUPS …
“Over 210 people turned up for the Alpha course,” reports Ian Hamilton (CRM-UK). “My group comprises 4 ‘helpers’ (1 helping lead), 6 Christians, 8 who think they’re Christians and 3 non Christians. I would love folk to pray for God to break through, please. Alpha weekend is November 7-9.”
NEW LIFE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY – REACHING NEW PEOPLE
“I have began to coach all of the cell leaders individually each month and it seems to be making an impact,” writes planter Phil Brown. “We have had 3 or 4 new people connect from the Crossing to our Lifegroups in the past 2 weeks. On Friday a fortnight ago, two ladies came into the building separately and said they were looking for community and church.
One of them has connected to the Lifegroup I attend. Last weekend we had our church retreat and a lady we had never met before was invited. She came and is very keen. The previous Friday night we had over 20 unchurched youth at ‘Livewire’ – the spiritual group that follows the ‘drop in’ evening.”
## Phil Brown recommends – as the best practical manual on cell church a
work booklet “upward, inward, outward forward” by Jim Egli and the book “Making cell groups Work” by M. Scott Boren (1992) from TOUCH ministries.
CAIRO CHURCH PLANT GROWING!
“Yesterday I preached to the Sudanese Church in the Ramses Centre, Cairo. I was very much inspired and encouraged to see the place of meeting packed full with about 160 people. Isn’t this wonderful?” writes Egypt Field pastor and Secretary, Saad Khilla
YEOVIL SMALL GROUP – EXPECTING ‘TWINS’
Even though many in their small group are nurses on shift work – it has been possible to establish a regular Wednesday evening group. “It has taken a little while to come to this stage of committment so we give thanks,” say planters Leslie & Dana King. “The group is planning to have ‘twins’ next January as we want to give birth to two new small groups with two new leaders and trainee leaders!”
THE JOURNEY OF A CHURCH PLANTER
“I hope everyone is praying for me; for have you ever considered that in this plan of me converting others to Jesus, I am the one that gets converted instead?” writes Laverne Byng. “I am not scared of the ground under my feet being shaken, I’m glad if it is, because I need to know that what I’m standing on is the real stuff. Its just that yesterday I had a 3 hour time of sharing with a Sikh lady from my class. I had the opportunity to share Jesus and what he means and that he came and died. But I left asking many questions. Questions about the faith of people outside of Christianity. Who answers their prayers? Who are they praying to? Why do I no experience the power and eloquence – like the disciples? Why am I ministering to people who can hardly speak English – but I don’t have the gift of tongues. etc. etc? Why is Jesus the truth?
Because I believe it? – or, because he said it? Is it true because I believe it? Its so easy when you share it with another Christian. It feels very obvious! – but when you try explaining it to someone from another ‘world’ so to speak it feels like it doesn’ t make sense. (If you understand my drift.)”
MARTIN VUKMANIC HAS BEEN IN FINLAND
Martin Vukmanic wrote from Helsinki – where he was spending some days with CafeSEED planter Atte Helminen and the team. Atte had organized a two day NCD Consultant’s Training with church leaders from the different denominations. “We had about 40 people present,” says Martin. “I had the privilege to share.”
“We also met the small groups leaders at Café Seed. They are doing a good job in spite of difficulties and challenges they meet. We recognized our challenges and prayed together,” Martin wrote. On the Sabbath the satellite church plants met together for their regular combined day. (If you want to know more about the satellite model of church planting – contact Atte Helminen <INTERNET:[email protected]>.
LINDESBERG – PUBLIC PRESENTATION ATTRACTS VISITORS
A couple of weeks ago Martin Vukmanic – church planting coordinator in Swedene – made a public presentation in Lindesberg. “There were 30 people present,” says Martin. “Elvi Honkanen is doing a great job.
She is more than just coordinating this group. She is making excellent food for everybody to enjoy. They are starting three different dialogue groups of which one is an ‘Alpha’ group.”
STOCKHOLM CELL CHURCH – OUT IN THE STREETS!
Stockholm Cell Church core members have been out on the streets of Stockholm – initiating events by the name of HOPE. The idea has been to involve unchurched friends in fun activities – while gathering funds for the homeless in Stockholm. “We were in one of the city square performing acrobatics, painting kids faces, giving away balloons and relating to people passing by. The money collected will be used to provide food for the homeless in our city.
FOCUS launches “100% Children”
FOCUS – a church planting project in Borås, southwest Sweden – has launched a new community children´s ministry called ‘100% Children.’
This will be an activity time that will run concurrently with the FOCUS once-a-month “café meeting” – a seeker event conducted in a community school cafeteria
“The purpose of ‘100% Children’ is for both nuture and outreach,”
says planter Trace White. “Although it is the parents who have been doing most of the planning it is the children themselves who do most of the leading. ‘100% Children’ begins with songs and progresses to different fun activities.” It started on September 13 – with over 40 children (mostly from the community) gathering for food & fun. “The parents wondered where all the kids where coming from! They came in response to the invitation of the FOCUS kids who went throughout the neighbourhood telling of the new adventure,” says Trace.
BLUE – makes the choice to make a difference!
“I have never been in such a diverse and multi-cultural place as London. It’s mad,” says Murray Harvey of BLUE. “All of a sudden I was confronted with all these different people asking me about my religion and telling me about theirs or their self made belief system. In the end I couldn’t help but ask myself, ‘How do I know I have the right religion?’
‘What makes me so special to think I have the answers?’ Even more troubling was that these were really nice and good people! For the first time in a long time I actually had to sit down with an open mind and decide what I believed. I literally had to accept Christianity all over again.”
This month the new SYNERGY 2 worship services for unchurched people have been focusing on ‘doubts.’ (Do you receive the BLUE news? write to [email protected] and also check out www.be-blue.org for more info.)
HOPE COMMUNITY – THANKS COMMUNITY!
The Hope Community (A church plant in The Pabya Centre, Beckenham, London) is putting on a ‘Thank You Community Dinner’ at the end of November. Planter Bobby Bovell reports that this event will be attended attended by the Mayoress. Other community projects include ‘Body Sculpt’
and ‘Singology’. (IT would be interesting to learn more about these ministries as well, Bobby!)
LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE IN SWEDEN – FOLLOW-UP FOR CHURCH PLANTING STUDY TOUR PARTICIPANTS!
“Last weekend we had a Leadership Conference in Sweden for the participants of the Church Planting Study Tour 2003,” reports church planting coordinator Martin Vukmanic. “We had 70 people from Stockholm, Focus, Linkoping and Orebro for the 3 day conference. We again went through the things we observed and learned on the Study Tour and shared the vision of reaching lost people in Sweden. It was a time of prayer, worship, team-building and empowerment. We also shared our local experiences and had five local case studies.” Martin says that he was ‘proud to listen’ to Maria, Linda, Daniel, Christer, Marita, Mariusz etc etc sharing and teaching!
RESOURCE FOR THOSE PREPARING BIBLE MESSAGES
‘Logos Bible Software’ provides a valuable tool for those who want to access a host of Bible translations, devotional and scholarly volumes, etc. Go to <http://www.logos.com/demo> to see what this is all about. To get a substantial discount – enter the name “JARED” in the Coupon Code box on the website after watching the demo. You can write to Jared Bryant for more details at <[email protected]>.