NEWS 01 Apr 05

Dear Church Planters,     
This week began with the horror of Monday’s devastating Indonesian earthquake – and is ending with the world’s Catholics (and many others) praying through the dying hours of Pope John Paul.  News images move from the devastation on the islands off Sumatra to the millions around the world lighting candles, praying, grieving and remembering.  We are reminded again of the deep spiritual heart needs of men and women – our neighbours and friends.      
This is a time to mingle with people – ‘desiring their good.’  Your Catholic neighbours and friends will appreciate your sympathy and sensitivity.  Meet their needs – offering understanding, support and prayer.  People’s hearts are ‘raw’ and open.  You may have the opportunity to share the story of Jesus’ love and sacrifice – the story that gives meaning and hope to our lives.  You may find a door open to invite someone to follow Jesus.    
In this NEWS there are stories of people being introduced to Jesus for the first time, the activity of the Holy Spirit and answered prayers.  You will be challenged and encouraged – as individuals and as church plants – to be the presence of Jesus in your community today! 
Christian regards,
Peter Roennfeldt

In this NEWS …
LEADING FRIENDS TO JESUS – PRAYERS, TEARS, DREAMS, PROCESS     Church planter L has been praying for months for God to raise leaders from within the people group with whom she is working.  Then, a week ago her coach challenged her.  “In my opinion based on my observation, the three ladies you mention are ready for a real encounter with Jesus,” he said.  “The bridge of friendship and understanding is already built thanks to your patience. Let them have the privilege of meeting with our Lord Jesus Christ in the near future. Remember the process that I demonstrated for you the other day? Go for it in the power of the Holy Spirit!  God be with you.”  L explains that her coach said, “I want you to be more courageous…You can actually hold the hand of one of these women and ask them, ‘What about Jesus?’  They will see it in your eyes that you really care.”     
“Well, this week, I shared Jesus and assurance of salvation with 3 of the women,” reports L.  It started with friend N.  “I have been so burdened with a longing for them to know Jesus that last Friday I had a dream in which I woke up challenging Jesus to speak to N.  I was crying, shaking and speaking aloud to Jesus.  When I saw N on Monday and saw her eyes, my heart just jumped for the dream became so real again.  So on Tuesday God gave me a brief moment to be alone with her. I kept remembering what my coach told me, but the setting just was not right. Anyway, I shared my dream and my burden with her…  In essence I told her that right at this moment, she could be sure of paradise.”  Then it was Y. “Since the death of her dad she is more conscious of God and of dying,” says planter L.  “She said I looked sad and worried at class, so I also told her of my burden. That I want God to give her the same assurance he gave me.”  The opportunity came to share with M after “3 hours at her home, chatting and then eating together.”  “I told her of my conversations with N and Y – and shared with her Jesus,” says L.      
“My coach assures me that it’s a process,” says L.  “I must continue to sow the seed and then one day it will just happen.  There is no one specific thing that finally causes the change.  But it will be.  So for me, God has answered. He gave me the open doors and I shared, so now I think the rest is up to him.  I have never professed to have the power to change anyone.”      
“My journey of faith is just growing daily.  My walk with God seems to be paralleling the women’s journey.  Each day or week, I receive some new insight into faith in Jesus and his righteousness.  I have a different and greater understanding of this whole salvation business than I had even last year.  My assurance deepens with each passing day.  It is very intriguing.  As this happens, my pain for the women grows.  Each song, each scripture, each prayer is just filled with them.  I feel at times like asking God to take this burden from me.  I’m not always sure if I want them to receive Jesus so that I can be relieved of my pain, or because I really want them to find the joy I have.  Maybe it’s both.  Well, I live with it, until God is ready.”   
THE HOLY SPIRIT COMES!      During the Church Planters X-Change in Collonges (4-9 March) participants read through the Acts of the Apostles and 1.5 hours were set aside each day for prayer and praise to God.  Many experienced the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.  One reports, “The last night communion was the most wonderful spiritual experience I ever had with God. Something very special happened while I was praying and being anointed by one of our theology teachers. I told him the day after that I literally felt something flowing in me, while he was placing his hands on me. It was like a shower flowing from my head to the rest of my body. I felt a great peace and joy remaining in me. … Wow! I can’t even believe in a kind of experience like that before. You know, I’m like we say in French “terre à terre” (ground to ground) – a rational person. I always thought that feeling the Holy Spirit can be the result of emotions or something subjective. Well, from this time I might think different about it!”  
AFFIRMATION OF BAPTISM!     When preparing for a baptism, pastor and planter Peter Jeynes writes to friends and church leaders to invite them to send a short ‘greeting’, ‘blessing’ or ‘welcome’ to those who will be baptised.  “We use the greetings during the service to emphasise the idea that the candidate is being baptised into a world-wide body with many other brothers and sisters,” Peter says.   
MOSAIC ‘MATTHEW PARTIES’ MAKE FRIENDS     The ‘Mosaic’ planters in Banja Luka (Bosnia-Herzegovina) hold a ‘Matthew Party’ to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, the arrival of new babies, public holidays, etc.  “It is good way to have friends meet other members of our group in an environment that is familiar to them,” says team member Dragana Krnetic.  “Our friends usually know some of the others at the party and in most cases our houses are not new places for them.” 
NEW CONGREGATION FOR JEWS IN GENEVA     The coordinator for Adventist Jewish Relations, Richard Elofer, reports that a new congregation for Jews has been planted in Geneva.  “The English speaking congregation of Geneva, the Old Testament professor (from the Adventist seminary at Collonges), and some students have joined their efforts to start a new congregation in a Jewish style,” Richard writes.  “he first meeting was on the 27th of February … with the room full to overflowing.”
     The Adventist Church in Nicosia, Cyprus, is in the process of replanting to relate more to people in the community.  Desiring to be more inclusive the worship ministry team invited Alex Elmadjian to head up a ‘jargon violations’ investigation – to etermine the extent of the use of words and phrases that visitors (and even members) would not understand.  “The use of jargon should be regarded as tantamount to bad communication – and rude,” says Alex.  In an effort to reduce the incidence of jargon Alex has designed a bookmark which is handed to each presenter – as well as stuck to the lectern – and initiated a review of words and terms used in the bulletin.
RAISING LEADERS FOR THE HARVEST – CHALLENGE!     Last week almost 80 church leaders (conference and Union presidents and key pastors and planters) spent 3 days studying how to develop new church planters for Europe.  During the final prayer and commitment time, Aris Vontzalidis shared a message that had been sent from a prayer intercessor – who that morning felt impressed to share.       How does this message challenge you?  “Are we being faithful to God’s word if we keep communicating it in an outdated style that fails to reach people or insist on doing ministry in a way that is comfortable for us even though it does not produce much result?  Too many of us are orthodox in our beliefs but unfaithful to Christ’s, because we refuse to change programme, methods, style of worship or even location in order to reach a lost world for Him. Vase Harder says: ‘The church can be straight as a gun barrel doctrinally and just as empty spiritually.’  We must be willing to say with unreserved commitment:  
We will do whatever it takes to reach people for Christ!’ PRAYERS ANSWERED AT SureWay COMMUNITY CHURCH      With a young member (Claudia) in hospital in a coma, church planter Mfakazi Ndebele acted quickly to form an intercessory prayer team via email – with a focus upon Acts 4:30.  Regular updates (‘SureWay Prayer Focus’) kept the prayer team informed.  After just a week the prayer team received the message – “Glory, Hallelujah, Praise the Lord … The Mighty God whom we serve has from His heavenly throne heard our prayers on behalf of Claudia and has woken her up from her deep sleep.”
IS THIS YOUR CHURCH PLANT?      Pastor and planter Peter Jeynes has shared with us following excerpts that Jill Geldart (from Middlesbrough) found in William Barclay’s commentary, The Daily Study Bible – the Acts of the Apostles.  In Acts 2:42-47 we have a summary of the Characteristics of the early Church in Jerusalem.  Peter Jeynes says, “This should remind us of the style of church we aim to be.”
(i)                  It was a learning Church; it persisted in listening to the apostles as they taught. One of the great perils of the Church is to look back instead of forward. Because the riches of Christ are inexhaustible we should ever be going forward. We should count it a wasted day when we do not learn something new and when we have not penetrated more deeply into the wisdom and the grace of God.
(ii)                It was a Church of fellowship; it had what someone has called the great quality of togetherness. Nelson explained one of his victories by saying, “He had the happiness to command a band of brothers.” The Church is a real Church only when it is a band of brothers (and sisters).(iii)               It was a praying Church; these early Christians knew that they could not meet life in their own strength and that they did not need to. They always went in to God before they went out to the world; they were able to meet the problems of life because they had first met Him.
(iv)              It was a reverent Church; in v.43 the word which the Authorized Version correctly translates fear has the idea of awe in it. It was said of a great Greek that he moved through this world as if it were a temple. The Christian lives in reverence because he knows that the whole earth is the temple of the living God.
(v)                It was a Church where things happened; signs and wonders were there (v.43) If we expect great things from God and attempt great things for God things happen. More things would happen if we believed that God and we together could make them happen.
(vi)              It was a sharing Church; (vs 44, 45); these early Christians had an intense feeling of responsibility for each other. It was said of William Morris that he never saw a drunken man but he had a feeling of personal responsibility for him. A real Christian cannot bear to have too much when others have too little.
(vii)             It was a worshipping Church (v 46); they never forgot to visit God’s house. We must remember that “God knows nothing of solitary religion.” Things can happen when we come together. God’s Spirit moves upon his worshipping people.
(viii)           It was a happy Church (v 46); gladness was there. A gloomy Christian is a contradiction in terms.
(ix)              It was a Church whose people others could not help liking. There are two Greek words for good. Agathos simply describes a thing as good. Kalos means that a thing is not only good but also looks good; it has a winsome attractiveness about it. Real Christianity is a lovely thing. There are so many people who are good but with their goodness possess a streak of unlovely hardness. In the early Church there was winsomeness in God’s people. 
TED Church Planting Office

Peter Roennfeldt


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *