Judy and I have just returned home from an Alpha Dinner and discussion with community friends. It is invigorating to introduce Jesus to friends. Alpha will be part of the discipleship path of Living Waters – our church plant.
Many are becoming very serious about church planting to reach unchurched postmoderns. Here are some indicators –
· Ian Hamilton writes from London: “Had a great time in Lyons with 'Tremplin' (the French equivalent of LaunchPad) – with 95 people there!” (LaunchPad is a Church Resource Ministry equipping event for church planting teams.)
· Just over a week ago I spent an evening with 40+ young people at the Lilydale Adventist Church and with 8 teams who are planning to plant churches in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia.
· During this last week I joined Glenn Townend (leader of the Adventist Church in Western Australia) and other teachers in conducting a Church Planting School for 8 teams. The teams worked extremely well – developing very creative project plans for new church plants.
In this NEWS you will experience the activity of the Holy Spirit. Yes, planters face struggles. But, here are some realities – (1) church planting is God’s work, (2) faith is passed to the next generation by empowering them to plant new churches, and (3) God wants to do his work in and through us.
Be faithful & courageous,
CHURCH PLANTING NEWS – 4 April 06
In this NEWS …
· MEL GIBSON BROUGHT REBECCA TO CHURCH
· ‘UNGDOMSVISJON’ GOING TO ROMANIA!
· MOSAIC REJOICES IN HEALING!
· MOSAIC LEARNS FROM UNANSWERED PRAYERS!
· SMALL GROUPS TRAINING AT CAFÉ KIRKEN
· THE VISION OF YOUTH PLANTERS!
· LONDON LIVE – EMAIL CONTACT
· KORINTA PLANTER INVITED TO WESTERN AUSTRALIA!
· EASTER & PENTECOST – OPPORTUNITIES!
· ‘TEN COMMANDMENTS DAY’ – ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY FOR CHURCH PLANTERS!
· PRAY FOR …
· ‘TRUTH FOR TODAY – HOPE FOR TOMORROW’ OUTREACH TOUCHES UNCHURCHED PEOPLE!
· CONVERSATIONAL PRAYER – SOME SUGGESTIONS!
· COMMENTS ON MISSIONAL OR EMERGING CHURCH!
· WHAT BIBLE WILL YOU USE?
· BURLEIGH CENTRE FOR LEADERSHIP STUDIES
· CHURCH PLANTING NEWS – SHARED WITH OTHERS!
· IN AN INTERVIEW WITH RICK WARREN
MEL GIBSON BROUGHT REBECCA TO CHURCH! “It's true!” says Ani Holdsworth from Durham (England). “Rebecca knew nothing of the Holy Spirit's leading as she watched ‘The Passion of The Christ’ again and again – crying every time.” With no Bible knowledge Rebecca walked in and participated with a little group that meet near The Walkabout pub in the heart of the university village of Durham – “she knew she wanted to follow the Jesus she had come to know through the film.” On 11 March 2006, exactly one week before her 18th birthday, Rebecca was baptized into God's family. Her favorite hymn is ‘Now I Belong to Jesus’. “And she does,” says Ani Holdsworth.
‘UNGDOMSVISJON’ GOING TO ROMANIA! “We are continuing our work here and have even more teenagers this year than before,” write Gunnhild and Jan Erik Hansen from Steigen – a small rural community in Nordland in northern Norway. It started with horse-riding, mechanics, craft and cooking clubs for teenagers in their home and on their small farm. Now more than 60 are involved in a variety of clubs each Tuesday and Thursday evenings – and another club has been organized in Bodø (250 kilometers away). The local community now supports with funding. “In last part of June we plan to travel, together with the Bodø group, to Romania with some of the oldest of our youth (16-26 year old) to help, a children’s home there,” Jan Erik writes. “We believe this will be an unforgettable trip for those who go with us.” (This is an emerging church plant!)
MOSAIC REJOICES IN HEALING! In an earlier NEWS we told of Slava – a woman with cancer in the Banja Luka hospital (Bosnia i Herzegovina). MOSAIC planters built a friendship – “praying for her spiritual and physical health all the time.” “Recently the doctors in Banja Luka and Belgrade examined her – and they found nothing!” writes MOSAIC member, Dragana Krnetic. “They checked all that was necessary and there was not a single trace of cancer! We were almost afraid to rejoice fully. But it is true! Slava has recovered from cancer by God's grace.”
MOSAIC LEARNS FROM UNANSWERED PRAYERS! With expanding opportunities to serve the homeless and needy of their community MOSAIC members have prayed for a multipurpose house and a van for food deliveries. “We had high expectations and prayed for God to prepare us for the results!” says Dragana Krnetic. “We have wondered why God did not give us a house or a room for the meetings.” However, as time has gone by MOSAIC members can see God changing their hearts – making them and their new friends more open to each other and to God. “We have a big photo album with pictures and newspapers articles and we have created a 10-minute video about the homeless and Mosaic helping them,” says Dragana.
SMALL GROUPS TRAINING AT CAFÉ KIRKEN: “I visited Café Church (Copenhagen, Denmark) with Becky Pedersen for a small groups event (March 18-19),” reports David Cox. “The spirit is good, leadership is good, and numbers are good with about 140 present for the Saturday pm worship service.” Becky (now studying in England) was a charter planter of Café Church and she was joined by Gabriela Phillips from Cyprus – visiting Café Church for the first time. “I got to learn a great deal about what daring young people could do in the authority of Jesus,” Gaby says. “Their passion was a rebuke to my lukewarm attitude.” Before going there Gaby had gotten the wrong impression that the Café Church “was rich in music expression but not so keen on the presentation of the Word.” She says, “I was WRONG! The Bibles I saw looked pretty worn out, and I do not mean only the covers, but the inside was seriously worked out. Besides it became clear in the small groups that I was very wrong.”
THE VISION OF YOUTH PLANTERS! Kris and Kaspars (young leaders in KORINTA in Riga, Latvia) have a vision. They say: “In a couple of years we have to start planting a KORINTA type church in every city of Latvia.” (Some believe this will spread across “Estonia and Lithuania and Europe!”) Their mentor says, “What have I done? For the last two years I have cared for, empowered and brought vision to these kids. Now they live with one flame in their hearts – the power of the Holy Spirit. They wake up and see one vision – a changed world for God.”
LONDON LIVE – EMAIL CONTACT: To contact Murray Harvey at London Live – write to him at [email protected]
KORINTA PLANTER INVITED TO WESTERN AUSTRALIA! Juris Rekis – one of the founding planters of KORINTA (Riga, Latvia) will visit Perth during Easter to share the story of young people planting effective churches to reach lost people.
EASTER & PENTECOST – OPPORTUNITIES! Secular community news-sheets are drawing attention to the events of Easter – celebrations of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. How is your church plant ‘using’ this opportunity to introduce unchurched people to Jesus? And, what plans do you have for Pentecost this year (the weekend of June 4)? At Living Waters we have decided to feature Pentecost –
· Our Alpha course (over the coming weeks) will prepare participants to relate to the Holy Spirit.
· On Friday evening (June 2) we will share an Agape Meal with unchurched friends – culminating in an open Lord’s Supper and anointing.
· Saturday morning (June 3) we will have a two hour celebration of Life in the Spirit.
We want to share our experience with God in ways that unchurched postmoderns can understand.
‘TEN COMMANDMENTS DAY’ – ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY FOR CHURCH PLANTERS! The Ten Commandments Commission is a powerful coalition of religious leaders that include some of the most recognized names in Christianity. Some have human rights concerns about some political goals commission – however, this popular movement has raised the awareness of many unchurched people to the value and eternal principles of the Ten Commandments. Why not feature discussions of these eternal principles on May 6 or 7 – “Ten Commandments Days.”
PRAY FOR …
· Juris & Regina Rekis – planters studying in England (who sometimes feel ‘out of strength’).
· Planters in Albania – the Hendricksons in Vlora, the Mays in Berat and the Wilcox family who will soon launch a special missionary publication.
· Rosemary Lethbridge (planter Llandrindod, Wales) – with 13 unchurched people worshipping together each week – for ‘courage, strength and wisdom’.
· A leader for Kidz Club and a coordinator for the ‘Welcome to Your New Home’ initiative in Llandrindod, Wales.
· Church planting coordinators in Australia (Wayne Krause) and Europe (Janos Kovacs-Biro).
‘TRUTH FOR TODAY – HOPE FOR TOMORROW’ OUTREACH TOUCHES UNCHURCHED PEOPLE! Friends are invited to a delightful sit-down meal at the Stanborough Centre in North Watford (England) and then a variety program including a presentation by lay-person, Brian Davidson. Themes have included "The Strange Man of Mud and Metal" (based on Nebuchadnezzar's prophetic dream recorded in Daniel 2), "Why So Much Suffering?" and "Don't be Fooled" (exploring the story of Jesus’ second coming). This series is just one of 853 such evangelistic initiatives being conducted by lay-persons around the world in 2006 under the auspices of "Global Evangelism". The Stanborough Centre is also the home of BLUE – a creative initiative to share faith with unchurched friends. (See BUC News #483 & 484 – 24 Mar 06)
CONVERSATIONAL PRAYER – SOME SUGGESTIONS!
1. One person leads.
2. Converse with God about one subject at a time.
3. Each person can pray briefly and often.
4. Talk with each other and God at the same time.
5. If you close your eyes for prayer – make sure you interact verbally a lot for you are missing the non-verbal nods, etc.
6. Don’t pray around the circle.
7. Raise needs as the prayer continues – and, there is no need to make a list of things to pray about before you start praying.
8. Be comfortable with silence – explaining that it is OK just to be with God.
COMMENTS ON MISSIONAL OR EMERGING CHURCH! Emerging or emergent are terms being used of the future church. They suggest a connection with the established church and foster the idea of moving forward together. However, emerging church covers a broad spectrum – from ‘liquid church’ (Pete Ward) to a variety of more structured forms (Ian Coffey). Some of the main proponents (Kimball, Moynagh, McLaren, etc) wrestle with the label – as does Michael Frost (co-author with Alan Hirsch of The Shaping of Things to Come). Mike prefers ‘missional church’ – “a movement seeking to embody the missio Dei in our time and place” – quoting David Bosch: “Mission is understood as being derived from the very nature of God.”
Missional church plants foster (1) incarnational (rather that attractional) ministry, (2) messianic (rather than dualistic) spirituality, and (3) apostolic (rather than hierarchical) leadership – with every believer having spiritual gifts that are to be used in service and ministry. They build on the principle ‘we will come to you’ (in our mission to the lost) rather than you must come to us. (Clearly, not all plants are missional.)
Some denominational leaders are nervous about emerging/missional churches – while others are experimenting with the potential and opportunities to share the gospel. Some guiding principles for leaders are: (1) fan every spark of missional interest and activity, (2) earn the ‘right’ to influence and guide the movement of emerging initiatives by getting very close to all involved – as friends, and (3) foster and put in place networks of support (with coaching, dialogue and equipping opportunities). There is a reality that some may find difficult to grasp – missional churches will happen whether you like it or not.
WHAT BIBLE WILL YOU USE? “In order to understand a significant amount of what the Bible says, you need to be reading at the following grade levels for some of the major English translations and paraphrases: KJV – grade 12; NASV 11.3; NKJV 9.1; LB 8.3 and NIV grade 7.8. Think about it! Unless you are reading at nearly an 8th grade level you can't understand much of what any of those Bibles are saying!” (Homer Trecartin, Musings – 19 Mar 06)
BURLEIGH CENTRE FOR LEADERSHIP STUDIES: The Burleigh Center for Leadership Studies (BCLS) was established in March 2006 to provide high quality research, development and resourcing for established and emerging leaders in churches throughout Australia, particularly in the areas of leadership and cross-cultural mission. BCLS is a research arm of Burleigh College. To receive the newsletter or get more details on the following events and courses – contact the director Graham Hill – [email protected] :
1. Unearthed Missions Networking Evening – April 3 with Robyn Hughes
2. Preaching in a Postmodern World – May 13 with Dr Graham Johnson
3. Conflict Transformation – July 3-7 with Mark and Mary Hurst4. Contemporary Preaching – September 25-29 with Dr John Sweetman CHURCH PLANTING
NEWS – SHARED WITH OTHERS! One denominational communicator with a heart for planting churches writes, “I redirect it to all of our pastors – to about 50+ pastors and youth leaders.” Another leader, Glenn Townend (in Western Australia) sends it on to more church planting teams. It is directly sent to about 2,000 planters. Who could it encourage? Send it on!
IN AN INTERVIEW WITH RICK WARREN (author of ‘Purpose Driven Life’), Rick said: “God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do. That's why we're called human beings, not human doings.”
CHURCH PLANTING NEWS