Dear Church Planters,
You have heard about LIGHTS ACROSS LONDON – an initiative to plant over 20 new churches in London. Now it is BRIGHTEN YOUR CORNER – a vision to plant groups and new churches across Luton (just off the M1 – north of London).
Last evening and today, Judy and I have been a part of an envisioning and planning process with Andrew Leonce (pastor) and the members of the present Luton churches. They are speaking of 5-10 new groups and churches!
The past weeks have been filled with visits with planters and leaders in Uganda, Congo, Sudan (including the South), England and Israel – and, last weekend at Nyhyttan (Sweden) focusing upon a renewed relationship with the Holy Spirit. I have been impressed with the commitment to being both biblical and relevant to reach lost people. In Africa I met local leaders who are bringing whole companies of people to a greater understanding of God’s Word and preparation for the coming of Jesus. Two weeks ago – on Friday evening – I celebrated the Kiddush with a fellowship in Ashkelon (Israel) to welcome the Shabbat (Sabbath). Planting groups are using Hebrew styles in their songs, prayers and worship – to make the gospel more accessible to their fellow Jews.
And, while recognising that we must extend our circles of friendships, serve our communities and contextualise our methods – there is a growing recognition that it is the Holy Spirit alone who convicts and draws people to Jesus. In this NEWS you will catch up with some excellent ministry ideas. And, don’t miss the stories of church planting in Ireland. You will also get a feel for the growing commitment to prayer and a fresh relationship with the Holy Spirit!
CHURCH PLANTING NEWS – 06 Nov 04
In this NEWS …
Ø KORINTA CHURCH PLANTER – ATTENDS CONFERENCE ON CONTEMPORARY PREACHING
Ø NORTH NORWAY – USING ‘CHRISTIANITY EXPLORED’
Ø REMIX – TEENS REACHING TEENS
Ø CHURCH PLANTING CONFERENCE IN CZECH & SLOVAKIA
Ø NEW CELL CHURCH PLANT IN BANJA LUKA – CHANGING LIVES!
Ø PRAGUE CHURCH PLANTING SCHOOL – HELD IN CAFÉ
Ø GYM & PARTIES – SMALL GROUPS & SPIRITUAL GROWTH
Ø 153 DAYS OF PRAYER & FASTING!
Ø KIDZ KRAFT IN THE COMMUNITY
Ø COACHING & KIDS IN STEIGEN
Ø NEW TWINS – WATT & re:vive!
Ø WHAT IS HAPPENING?
Ø PURPOSE DRIVEN PLANTING!
Ø CHURCH PLANTING IN GALWAY & NEWMARKET (IRELAND)
KORINTA CHURCH PLANTER – ATTENDS CONFERENCE ON CONTEMPORARY PREACHING
Aira Arina traveled to Willow Creek’s Chicago campus to attend the conference on communicating to contemporary people. Aira says, “I probably could not overrate the impact of this trip upon me and the whole ministry in KORINTA. I have brought back loads of materials and now almost every member in KORINTA is engaged in training.” Aira was invited to stay in the home of the Global Hosting Manager of Willow Creek – and this gave her opportunity to meet and eat with the teams and leaders as they coordinated the weekend worship services. Before the conference even started Aira attended every service possible to see how things worked for different age groups (kids, teenagers, 20 something and adults) gathering ideas for KORINTA.
Many planters and pastors at the conference (4,000 of them) shared ideas with Aira – but, were also excited that young people in Europe are planting churches for lost people. “I could mingle with people, share about my church and pick up many great ideas from what they are doing,” says Aira. And the ideas are impacting KORINTA. They have already launched into more training for small groups. “Once we will have finished the course, we plan to start 7 to 9 new small groups with no more than 4 church members in each,” reports Aira. “At the moment we have two small groups – but, these are packed and we have no place to involve more newcomers who have shown great interest in joining us!”
NORTH NORWAY – USING ‘CHRISTIANITY EXPLORED’
While in London recently, Atle Haugen (leader in North Norway) discovered ‘Christianity Explored’ from All Soul’s Church. “I picked up a set and reviewed it with my pastors,” says Atle. “They all got excited and committed themselves to start courses.” This course is very biblical and sensitive to people who are unfamiliar with Christianity. Atle says, “It is the best I have ever seen on basic Christianity. Most would benefit from seeing it. We will start in at least 3 places in January 2005. This is exciting!”
REMIX – TEENS REACHING TEENS
“We had a good time last Saturday evening at Remix – our teenage seeker-service,” writes planter Lasse Bech. “The theme was ‘God as a Father’. We had two amateur Adventist comedians perform situations with different types of fathers. The teenagers identified very well with the situations. We also offered the kids a newly published ‘Street Bible’ – and we pray that God will speak to them through his Word. One boy we have had in Plug In (our drop in club) in since the beginning in 2000 helped as the technician. He even prayed aloud in the conversational prayer of thanks we as leaders held after everybody had left.”
CHURCH PLANTING CONFERENCE IN CZECH & SLOVAKIA
More than 250 people attended a church planting conference in Kromeriz in October, reports church planter and Union planting director, Martin Vesely. Most were young people. Guest teachers were Harald Giesebrecht from Cornelius church plant in Oslo, Norway; and Schuen and Holly Carpenter from the USA. Conference leaders joined the new union president, Pavel Simek, in giving strong support to church planting. “Church planting is taking deeper roots and is spreading all over our country,” says Martin. “You should come and see.”
NEW CELL CHURCH PLANT IN BANJA LUKA – CHANGING LIVES!
Committed to living as the first Christians did – the core members of a new cell church in Banja Luka (Bosnia-Herzegovina) see how Jesus related to his disciples as their example. They want to encourage and build up people in their community. Recently they brought in a woman from the street whom some had befriended. She was able to wash, clean up and was given new clothes. “She was crying and laughing at the same time,” says team member Dragana Krnetic. “We have also purchased food for some poor families and we visited boys and girls who have grown up in a home for children. We took them food and spent the whole afternoon with them. We are planning to go and have a special lunch with them.” The group call these events Matthew parties’ – and are mixing with many people. “We also plan to wash people’s cars in front of the hypermarket for free,” Dragana says. “The manager was astonished when he heard it!”
PRAGUE CHURCH PLANTING SCHOOL – HELD IN CAFÉ
On Sabbath and Sunday (9-10 Oct) about 80 enthusiastic members and leaders from the Bohemian Conference participated in a church planting school in Prague café. “We had wonderful time and God was there,” reports church planter Martin Vesely – and planting coordinator for Czech & Slovakia. “Three community centres have now been opened as new church plants in Plzen, Hradec Kralove and Hronov – and many more projects are being cultivated to relevantly communicate the good news to lost people in our country.”
GYM & PARTIES – SMALL GROUPS & SPIRITUAL GROWTH
Gym activities, small group type activities, one-to-one friendships – and a ‘huge amount of prayer’ is creating a widening circle of spiritual growth at GENESIS. The activities have included a “mega 7 day ‘detox’ diet being done by 20+ women, weight loss programmes – and now exercise classes for kids. “When I told the kids and ladies they were so ecstatic,” says Laverne. “I think the kids love the classes more than the women.”
153 DAYS OF PRAYER & FASTING! Many are aware that Leslie and Dana King set aside Tuesdays for prayer – seeking God’s counsel and blessing in the children and teen outreach initiatives in Yeovil. Some are aware that those supporting Laverne (GENESIS initiative) have set aside one day each week for prayer and fasting – seeking God’s leading as friendships are built with people of major world religions. “Our 153 days of prayer and fasting is for one day a week for the next 153 weeks or until the Spirit says stop!” says Laverne. “It doesn’t matter what day someone chooses, as long as there is one day of fasting done by someone somewhere on behalf of Genesis.” And, we can says – GOD IS BLESSING & ANSWERING PRAYERS!
KIDZ KRAFT IN THE COMMUNITY
With school holidays in Sydney (Australia), Mile End Community Church has opened its doors to serve. “Our church has been open every day and hundreds of kids from the community have been taking part in the Kidz Kraft program,” reports pastor and planter Martin Vukmanic. “The program is not advertised in any other way than by word of mouth. Parents come and leave their kids at our church to take part in different creative activities while they go shopping or to work. The staffing is made up of both church members and other volunteers from the community.” Martin says they have been enjoying making colourful T-shits, painting pictures and baking pizzas. “But most of all we have enjoyed the community and friendship,” says Martin. “And let’s not forget the warm weather (for the last couple of days we have had +37c!”
COACHING & KIDS IN STEIGEN
Glenn Tore Storvollen and Atle Haugen have started formal coaching (using the GROW model) to support leaders of the youth and kids programmes (Gunnhild, Jan Eriks and Hilde) in Steigen, north Norway. “The youth work network now includes up to 40 kids,” reports Atle. “14 adults from the community – only half of whom have their own kids involved – are eagerly taking part. Another 3 will join soon!”
NEW TWINS – WATT & re:vive! Responding to the suggestion that new church plants could benefit by ‘twinning’ with other plants – in other words agreeing to support, pray, encourage and exchange ministry ideas with each other – WATT (the church plant in Assen in the Netherlands) and re:vive (from Grantham, England) have decided to ‘twin’. “We will communicate with them and pray for each other,” re:vive report in their newsletter, re:port. “We are hoping to meet twice a year (once in Holland, once in England) and are already planning our first trip to Assen next spring.”
WHAT IS HAPPENING? As well as many hundreds of projects, groups and churches that have started building relationships with their communities and unchurched friends – the following gives a small insight into what is taking place –
Ø In the Baltic countries the Church Planters X-Change held in 2004 has resulted in specific plans for another 15 new church plants.
Ø In Britain over 25 new churches have been organised in the last 2-3 years – with plans for 20+ new churches in London (as well as many others) in the next 5 years.
Ø In Hungary 16 new churches have been planted, 2 replanted – with 3 new churches formally organised – in the last 5 years. Another 20 church plants in the early stages – and the conferences plan 15 more church plants in the next 5 years.Ø In Finland 4 new churches have been organised in the last 5 years and another 5 church plants launched (including Seed Café Finnish, International & Russian, East Helsinki and Vantaa). There are a further 7 projects that could develop into plants – and the Church Planting Coordinating Team has identified sites for a further 13 churches in the next 5 years.
Ø In Israel – 24 new churches and companies have been organised in the last 6 years – and a strategy is in place to plant and establish 12+ new churches in the next 3 years.
Ø In South Sudan 52 new churches have been planted, 43 new branch Sabbath Schools have been organised, and 12 small groups organised in the last 6 years. District leaders and pastors are planning on planting over 32 new churches each year over the coming years. It is projected that 40 new church buildings (with steel trusses & roof, concrete flooring and pressed bricks) will be completed in 2005-2006.
Ø In the Netherlands 9 new churches have been planted – with 3 now having their own Sabbath meetings. Another 3 projects are moving towards a plant. The leaders in the Netherlands are on the front line in providing support systems for their planters and plants – and the Church Planting Team is working on a strategy of recruiting and assessment to establish 15 new church plants in the next 3-5 years.
Ø In Poland 6 new churches and 5 new groups have been established since 1999. Plans are in place for 10 new churches in the next 3-5 years.
Ø In Norway 3 new churches – and one replanted. Plans are in place for another 5-7 planting projects in the next 4-5 years.
PURPOSE DRIVEN PLANTING!
The leader of the church and planting in Israel, Richard Elofer, organised 4 days of equipping for pastors and planters at a kibbutz in northern Israel. Peter Roennfeldt joined in the discussions and planning that focused upon the purposes that God has for believers – (1) worship, (2) service, (3) outreach/witness, (4) fellowship, and (5) discipleship. “These purposes are found in the Great Commandments and the Great Commission and give focus to each church plant,” explains Richard. “The group used ‘The Purpose Driven Church’ by Rick Warren as the basis of their planning,”
CHURCH PLANTING IN GALWAY & NEWMARKET (IRELAND)
In December last year (2003) church planter Ashley Stanley Kongari moved to Galway (attendance 6-20) and Newmarket-on Fergus (attendance sometimes 0). “Prior to coming here, I was used to having a little bigger church with better furniture, equipment and a small choir,” says Ashley. “I took time to study the churches and the people.” The next steps Ashley took included –
1. Contacting those who had stopped coming to church or had become cold.
2. Standing at the shopping centres – making contact with people and inviting them to church.
3. Publicising his presence. “Galway Bay Radio announced that a new pastor for Adventist church in Galway had arrived and gave a brief explanation of Adventism,” says Ashley. “The Galway City Tribune carried a good report. Later, I was invited to give an interview on Clare FM in Ennis to tell the local people who Adventists are and how we differ in our faith from the Catholic Church. But visiting people and making contacts became a cornerstone of our success. We enrolled several people for VOP Bible Study.”
“On January 31, 2004 we invited people to church at Newmarket,” reports Ashley. “The church was packed and there were 72 people in the little church.” Since then attendance has averaged 15. However at the communion on September 25 – there were over 40 present – with about 10 community guests. In each of the towns Ashley has worked with members to identify people groups who may be open to the gospel – families from Brazil, Ghana, Russia, Moldova, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, etc. They have arranged to provide materials and worship in their languages – and have organised new groups around these families.