Many have sent news items in the last few days. Some items are now on www.newchurchlife.com (where we have also added a page for Seminars & Conferences) – but here are more ideas, links and encouragement!
Your stories encourage others! Every time a CHURCH PLANTING NEWS goes out, I hear from Olga Murga. She and her husband Michael planted numerous faith groups in Israel – and she is about to start a series of gospel meetings in Kiev, Ukraine before returning to conduct more gospel meetings in Russia. Your stories bless people like Olga. 2,500 planters and movement leaders receive this newsletter each time it goes out – and some send it further to their networks, students, friends, etc. Your stories encourage others – so do share them.
Your struggles shared! While advertising often portrays products as better than they are, church planting confronts us all with reality. It has been suggested that we open up dialogue on the struggles and pain that planters, parent churches and denominations experience – to discuss and relate to some of the challenges. In the next week we will open up a new page on the blog for you to share issues that you are facing – and to share suggestions and ideas to support a healthy environment for church planting. Feel free to write – and outline issues that you would like discussed.
CHURCH PLANTING NEWS – 1 Sept 07
News stories, resources, websites & equipping – including:
· Revive – first Baptisms!
· Reaching Postmoderns – Revive Church
· Cottage Beck Café Church – people passing through!
· Simple Churches or Home Churches are on the way back!
· The Watering Hole – answers to Prayer
· Stop Slandering Our Youth!
· Alfa Gospel Praises on tour – makes a big impact in Finland
· Eastside Fellowship – lay-led and reproducing!
· Converse Gathering – A Churchless Faith?
· Poles “bring faith along with their work clothes” to England
· Refocusing Existing Churches
· For Small Groups Leaders
· Oikos Australia – a network of Home Churches
· Next1000 – a vision for church multiplication!
· Church Planting: Countdown & Launch – one day conferences with Stuart Robinson
Reaching Postmoderns – Revive Church: Check out the website of this new plant (first baptism last weekend) – www.myspace.com/revivechurch.
Cottage Beck Café Church – people passing through! A café church like Cottage Beck becomes a place of contact and connecting. People pass through – folk from the neighboring streets, volunteers, those on probationary service. Often the volunteers serving in the café are customers who like the place. Andrew and Eija (who met at Cottage Beck and married there) get deeply involved with the people – but many “just journey with us for a while as God does whatever He wants to in all of our lives,” say Isobel and Bryan Webster. Cottage Beck is pretty small – but, “Our congregation is huge really, if you add all the people who drop in to Kingsway at the Queensway occasionally.” And Cottage Beck Café Church is the venue for various neighborhood initiatives – including those of the mayor of Scunthorpe and the police neighborhood improvement groups centered at the Café. Community leaders see Cottage Beck “connecting with the local people, concerned about more than ‘religious’ things.”
Simple Churches or Home Churches are on the way back! This is how the Christian church started – in homes. It is also where the growth is taking place in many areas of the world – in homes and led by members. Check out the TIME magazine article “Why Home Churches are Filling Up …” at http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1167737,00.html.
The Watering Hole – answers to Prayer (Southampton, England): The planting team has received support and affirmation – backing the start-up and lease for The Watering Hole Café, subject to planning permits being passed by relevant council bodies! Pray that this core team will see more doors open. They are already building networks in their community.
Stop Slandering Our Youth! Over 80 years ago (in 1926) Daniel Poling wrote about the disservice we do to young people when we do not expect nor believe that God can and will do something incredible with kids. He said, "Stop slandering our youth!" Today, young people are involved in ministry – planting churches and creating new environments for sharing the gospel. Pray21 is a first step for a church or church plant to cultivate youth IN ministry. It is a call to pray with youth – not just for them! Check out the resources at www.pray21.org – and learn more about it from Timothy Eldred (Executive Director, Christian Endeavor International).
Alfa Gospel Praises on tour – makes a big impact in Finland: “The 50 young people of Alfa Gospel Praises are creating a big impact here,” says Atte Helminen – leader of the Adventist Church in Finland (and church planter). Alfa Gospel Praises is a new form of church plant for postmoderns in the Czech Republic. Having planted Nova Šance in Záb?eh, Martin Veselý and his team looked for ways to connect with the young postmoderns of the town. Olga Veselá and Simeon Hybl had the vision of Alfa Gospel Praises – inspiring young people to join a professional, high energy choir singing gospel music in English. Most of the choir are unchurched – but several of them were just baptized before going on tour in Finland and others will be baptized when they return home in early September. “I was truly blessed by the sincerity of their ministry,” Atte says.
Eastside Fellowship – lay-led and reproducing! About three months ago planter Matthew Gamble was asked to work part time with Eastside SDA Fellowship – located just east of Seattle (USA). “I started meeting with the group and could hardly believe my eyes and ears with what I was seeing and hearing,” Matthew says. “Here was a group of young, predominately second generation Korean professionals who have planted a church that has been lay-led for 7 years.” The weekly average attendance is between 50-70 – and an equal number attending small groups throughout the city every week. “The children's program is one of the best I've ever seen,” reports Matthew. “They seem to always have fun activities for families on the weekend.” Last Saturday the Eastside Fellowship became an officially recognized Adventist church.
Converse Gathering – A Churchless Faith? Should we disown it or nurture it? My friend Fuzz Kitto has written to tell of the next Converse Gathering – Wed 26 Sept 2007 at the Ultimo Uniting Church, Corner Bulwarra Road & Quarry Streets, Ultimo (Sydney, Australia). The Australian Bureau of Statistics national census figures show that almost 20% of Australians report as having no religion. Alan Jamieson and Mark Pierson we will look at the faith journeys of people who do not find homes in churches but desire to follow the way of Jesus. How do we connect and journey with them? Go to www.spirited.net.au/converse for more information – and to register. [Alan Jamieson is the author of A Churchless Faith. Alan was a Senior Pastor of Central Baptist Church Wellington (NZ) and has been nurturing and resourcing faith clusters of people who have left or never connected with churches. Mark Pierson is the former Minister of Cityside in Auckland and Director of Urban Seed in Melbourne. He is a leader in worship for [un/de]churched. He is now living and writing in Auckland.]
Poles “bring faith along with their work clothes” to England (UK): Many towns in the United Kingdom have become hosts to many Polish people where they work to improve their finances. Church pastor and planter, Peter Jeynes reports that some have chosen to “bring their faith along with their work clothes” and to share their relationship with God. The Adventist church in Darlington (which was down to 2 attendees) has benefited in having a full attendance, multiple Bible classes, interesting Polish luncheons – and a new language in worship services. And the Poles have been sharing their faith. They organised an English language school – taught on Sunday evenings by the Pastor and the Bible Worker. A second thing they did was, organise a Polish day on the last Sunday in August. Financed by Lloyds bank and sponsored by the Darlington Adventist Church – over one hundred people attended this first Polish Day in Darlington.
Refocusing Existing Churches: Each gathering or church could use these 5R’s of refocusing to assess what may move them forward for God to become a multiplying movement –
1. Needs Rebirthing: the church or group has little or no leadership, depleted commitment & resources. This group needs intervention & restarting.
2. Needs Restoring: the church or group’s leadership has deteriorated and is struggling, with loss of vision and questioning its survival. This group needs intervention & envisioning.
3. Needs Refocusing: the church or group has a healthy yet uncertain leadership base, it is positive, yet lacking owned vision. This group needs envisioning & resourcing.
4. Needs Resourcing: the church or group has strong and decisive leadership, a positive momentum with clear vision. This group needs resourcing in strategic areas.
5. Ready for Reproducing: this church or group has leadership that is skilled, humble & encouraging – and has a positive vision of God’s heart for the lost. This group needs a clear path to equip & release people/teams to plant new churches.
RESOURCES, WEBSITES & EQUIPPING EVENTS –
For Small Groups Leaders: This article called ‘Fix My Small Groups” may help. It is found at http://www.christianitytoday.com/outreach/articles/fixmysmallgroups.html.
Next1000 – a vision for church multiplication! First, what is next1000? It is a partnership of individuals, churches and organizations actively committed to putting church multiplication firmly on the agenda of the Australian church. Second, Why next1000? It is a tangible reminder that we are always looking to see the next 1000 Australian churches planted. Check out www.next1000.org.
Church Planting: Countdown & Launch – one day conferences with Stuart Robinson: This is for those with a passion to see churches multiplied across Australia. Stuart is senior pastor of the Chatswood Anglican Church in Sydney. He has planted a number of churches – and is author of Starting Mission-Shaped Churches. These one day conferences will be held in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane & Sydney (15-19 October). Go to http://www.gospeloutreach.com.au/events.htm and scroll down to Conference 2 (Oct 2007) where you can download the conference schedule and program.
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