Some have written asking whether Judy & I are still alive! It is 2 months since the last NEWS. Since returning to Australia I have been coordinating preparations for three major series of public evangelistic meetings – and these have been happening for the last seven weeks. It has been an all consuming project! The programs began across Melbourne in April, with over 3,000 people attending. Mark Finley has been presenting three topics each week in the three venues (with five sessions for each theme) – and, now in the last week, we still have 1,500+ attending.
Although this program has not been specifically geared towards new plants, many new churches have been planted through public evangelism. Other approaches prove effective in postmodern cultures however, each church planter looks for teaching opportunities where the Word of God can be explained. By the end of this week – I will post suggestions on using public evangelism as a church planting model (with some of the challenges).
There are some really exciting reports in this NEWS – stories that will encourage and inspire you: baptisms, new projects, ideas and training opportunities/conferences. Check out the stories on Kid’s Paradise, a baptism at re:vive, the opening of Café 7 and the upcoming Church Planting Today Conference with Stuart Murray-Williams.
CHURCH PLANTING NEWS – 4 June 07
News stories, resources, websites & equipping – including:
· Excitement at re:vive – the first baptism!
· KID’S PARADISE attracts 3,000 people each week!
· Café 7 Opens
· The Meal of Love!
· Flowers for Advertising!
· Watering Hole Life Groups Multiplying:
· Meet the church planters in Norseman
· Training the Team
· ‘Prayer Walking’ in Totton
· Reflections of a Church Planter!
Excitement at re:vive – the first baptism! Although the weather had been ‘grotty’ and a marquee was set up in case it rained – the sun shone as Zak was baptized in a ‘tank’ set up in a home garden. Lee Gallaher (re:vive team planter) explained the reason and symbolism of baptism for those who had not experienced it before and Zak shared his testimony. “Wow, it was just amazing – right on the mark,” reports Fiona Selvage. “I think that it is very significant that Zak was the first to be baptized. One day he will be a/the leader of re:vive. He is such an amazing young man!” Friends and family who have never experienced baptism were deeply moved. Some indicated they would also like to be baptized. Following Zak’s baptism there was a BBQ – and a lot of fellowship! “There was such an atmosphere of family. It was just wonderful. So exciting!” says Fiona.
KID’S PARADISE attracts 3,000 people each week! “So far we have seen about 3000 people per week come to Kids Paradise at the Tailrace Centre,” reports planter and pastor, Tim O’Neill. “We are just about to enter school holidays so are hoping for at least double that amount.” The Tailrace Centre in Launceston (Tasmania, Australia) opened just over a month ago. “What we have tried to do is create a marketplace where we can do outreach and ministry,” Tim says. During the last month a number of targeted outreach services have connected with over 1,000 unchurched people. “The challenge is to be creative and persistent in the way we keep engaging with the unchurched, whilst becoming more potent in what we do.” Check this out at http://www.kidsparadise.net.au/default.asp?pagetype=home&pageid=AAAAAA&dept=
Café 7 Opens: A very stylish and fully equipped commercial café has just opened in the Lansdale area of Perth, Western Australia. Café 7 is an innovative church plant that provides space for all kinds of ministry groups – and the opportunity to enjoy a delicious meal with friends. “Café 7 helps us to think outside the square about church and to go to where the people are, instead of expecting them to come to us,” says Phil Brown, church planting coordinator. (Missional Groups & Church Plants – Western Australia church planting news, May 07)
The Meal of Love! The Mosaic team (Banja Luka, Bosnia-Herzegovina) provide a public kitchen called "The Meal Of Love" – providing Sunday lunch for people on the streets and giving opportunity to talk to their friends about God!
Flowers for Advertising! To advertise a series of evangelistic meetings, the Mosaic team visited the homes around the venue on International Women’s Day – giving flowers and a card (with their phone contact and information on the meetings)! One man called to say that it was the first time in 30 years that he and his wife had experienced anything like this – a free gift from someone unknown. The room where they held their meetings was full of people – and two new small groups have formed and more people have volunteered to assist in ‘The Meal of Love’ public kitchen. Mosaic now also has evening worship services in that area every second week.
Watering Hole Life Groups Multiplying: The Watering Hole (Southampton, England) prototype life-group is in the process of multiplying – with the potential of three new groups. “The time spent together in the prototype life-group has created deeper relationships, spiritual growth and support – with consistent and accountable Christian fellowship,” reports Rebecca Pedersen. “We have been challenged and supported as we reach out to our unchurched friends.” (Watering Hole, Southampton – Prayer Network, June 2007)
Meet the church planters in Norseman: In 2004 Angela and Dennis were traveling around Australia in a ‘converted’ bus. 200 kilometres from Norseman (an isolated Western Australian town) the bus filled with smoke. After two days of waiting for help, and after much prayer, Angela persuaded Dennis to try starting the engine. After extensive cranking, the engine did start – and two days later they limped into Norseman. They managed to get a mechanic to inspect their bus and he couldn’t believe that they had driven the 200 km into Norseman for the engine was ‘cooked’. Angela asked the Lord if this was the place for her to stay and witness. They purchased a run down house and block for $500. (Yes that’s right, $500!) It took six week and five trips per day to clear the block and house of accumulated rubbish. Angela now runs an outreach for kids in town – including Buddhist children. The local government has offered the free use of a Scout hall for their ministry. (Missional Groups & Church Plants – Western Australia church planting news, May 07)
Training the Team: During the last month members of the Watering Hole core team have been training. Some did a course on engaging with the community; others did ‘permission to speak’; and still others a course on elements involved in running a café. Some of the team met with the manager of another Christian café. “This meeting especially proved very useful, as well as warming, sharing Christian fellowship with others of like mind,” Rebecca reports. (Watering Hole, Southampton – Prayer Network, June 2007)
‘Prayer Walking’ in Totton: Each of the Watering Hole core team families is being allotted a certain area of Totton to pray for and get to know. They will ‘prayer walk’ – pray and they walk through their areas and meet the residents. (Watering Hole, Southampton – Prayer Network, June 2007)
Reflections of a Church Planter! “At one stage after Zak’s baptism I sat back and just watched everyone milling around together, chatting, laughing etc – and it just came over me that a few years ago a lot of these people did not even believe in God and now they fully believe and are letting God lead them. At the beginning I was a child of little faith. I felt that this is what God wanted me to do but never thought that I would be used by God to lead people to Him, neither did I fully believe that we would actually see people baptized. It was quite an over whelming time for me! Since doing church planting I have had to lean more on God – and I yearn to learn. Often, even in our social events we get our Bible out and share verses of Scripture with each other – with seekers usually instigating this. God is a part of every part of our lives, whether it be at a re:vive program, at a social event, while having coffee with mates, or participating in small groups. He is in everything. And it is wonderful to have all these new friends.” – Fiona Selvage at re:vive
RESOURCES, WEBSITES & EQUIPPING EVENTS –
Life Renewal Weekend & Church Planting Summit – 6-10 July 2007 (Perth, Western Australia): The Church Planting Summit continues throughout the Life Renewal Weekend (July 6-8) and concludes on Tuesday (July 10 at 6:30 pm). There will be workshops and training for new teams (level 1) – and for experienced planters or teams who have already been to a church planting summit. Presenters include Phil Brown, Glen Townend, Wayne Krause and Peter Roennfeldt. For applications contact Phil Brown [email protected]
CHURCH PLANTING TODAY – 8-11 August 2007 at the Northern Community Church of Christ, 81 High Street, Preston (Melbourne, Australia): Speakers include Stuart Murray-Williams – director of Urban Expression, a pioneering church planting agency with teams of planters in London and new initiatives in Glasgow and Manchester. CHURCH PLANTING TODAY will focus on relevant evangelism, missional incarnation and community development in local Australian communities. Full details and registration forms are at www.theol.whitley.unimelb.edu.au or call Trudy Skilbeck on 03 9340 8011.
Meet Matthew Gamble – church planter & teaching pastor at the 24-SEVEN Ministry Center in Seattle, Washington: http://reinventingsdawheel.blogspot.com/2007/05/rap-session-matthew-gamble.html
TED Church Planters X-Change – 6-12 August 2007 (Freidensau, Germany): for details of costs, presenters and program contact Janos Kovacs-Biro [email protected]
CHURCH PLANTING NEWS