16 church planters from Europe have just completed 10 days of intense study in Australia – looking at church planting, discipleship processes and leadership principles. It has been an inspiring time. Thanks to Wayne Krause and the Central Coast Community Church team – and to Rick Paynter, the Gateway Family Church and CONNECTING Conference team – for hosting two very important conferences.
Your many emails have shared exciting news and significant ministry ideas. You will enjoy this edition of NEWS. There is so much to reflect upon and pray about – and, many ideas that can be adapted for your church plant.
Here is an idea. Brendon Pratt, senior pastor of Papatoetoe Adventist Church in Auckland, New Zealand – who has seen his church grow from 300 to
700+ in nine years – mentioned at the CCCC Church Planting Forum that
he arrives at his office each morning, the first hour is spent ‘THINKING.’
He thinks and prays about possibilities, challenges, their strategic path, how to move to the next level, what God would want the leadership team to focus upon to move the church forward!
This is an idea we could all put into practice – time ‘thinking’ with God about our church plants!
CHURCH PLANTING NEWS – 07 April 04
In this NEWS …
# EMAIL IDEAS & ONE-LINERS ///
# STEIGEN PROJECT – PRAISED BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCIL # DECISIONS FOR JESUS AT CHURCH PLANTERS X-CHANGE # ‘GYM FELLOWSHIP’ – NEW LEADERS FROM THE COMMUNITY!
# BELONGING, INVOLVEMENT & BAPTISMS AT COPENHAGEN CAFE CHURCH!
# STOCKHOLM INTERNATIONAL CHURCH PLANT – COMMITMENT!
# CLUB 39 – REACHING TEENS (Linköping, Sweden) # CLUB 39 – MUSIC REACHES TEENS!
# BLUE Spiritual Gifts Seminar
# COPENHAGEN CAFE CHURCH – TEENS LOOKING FORWARD TO BAPTISM!
# ‘FOCUS’ FEATURED IN PRESS!
# CHURCH PLANTS & CRITICS …
# ‘THE PASSION OF CHRIST’ – EVANGELISTIC POSSIBILITIES – # CONVERSATIONAL PRAYER …
# GOD IS GIVING LAVERNE A HARD TIME …
EMAIL IDEAS & ONE-LINERS …
# ‘We as adults make the love of Jesus so complex. You can praise God for the simplicity and directness of the witness of kids.’
# ‘The ‘gossip’ of world is ‘The Passion of Christ.”
# ‘People outside the church are open to the gospel. People within the chuch spend a lot of time fearing what is now taking place in their church.’
# ‘Who owns the Church? Sometimes we like to claim it as ‘our church’ – and we try to control it. But, it is God’s church – the body of Jesus!’
# “We had another FaceOut Club event (19 March),” writes Pia Elkjær. “55 kids turned up. Once again it was possible to remind them about God.”
STEIGEN PROJECT – PRAISED BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCIL
A couple of weeks ago Gunhild & Jan Erik Hansen met with the political leadership of their local government council. They had been invited to tell about their vision and work for the young people in Steigen (north Norway).
Their story was met with enormous support and encouragement. They were given a grant of N.kr. 20.000,- (GB£1.600,-) for their work and encouraged to keep on.
“So this goes to prove your often repeated statement: ‘Most of God’s money is in the community,'” writes Atle Haugen. President of the North Norway Conference. “Gunhild also remembers how close she was to give in or at least reduce the scale of the work. Instead they now have 12 voluntary helpers and 30 instead of 20 kids! Something is going on in Steigen and only God knows where this will end.”
DECISIONS FOR JESUS AT CHURCH PLANTERS X-CHANGE
A Church Planters X-Change is conducted to equip church planting teams. At the recent X-Change in Riga, Latvia there were over 100 church planters present – to learn, share and commit themselves to serving God in the Baltic States. “Sounds like a dream for the Baltics!” says Korinta church planter, Juris Rekis. But, that is not all. “Many, many lives were changed by the Holy Spirit.” The Korinta church planting team (who hosted the X-Change) had unchurched friends with them – helping and involved in the X-Change. Juris writes that “about 10 unchurched people have said yes to God or started to communicate with Him” as a result of the X-Change.
“Krishjanis (an unchurched guy who gave his testimony at the X-Change) told me and Regina yesterday that he wants to get baptised this summer,” writes Juris. “That is just so awesome. Now you can bow your head and just say:
‘Praise, the Lord whom we serve!'”
‘GYM FELLOWSHIP’ – NEW LEADERS FROM THE COMMUNITY!
“I tell you God is amazing how he works,” says Laverne. “I been praying so much about vision for this ministry, about leaders etc.” As a result of a minor car accident Laverne was late for an exercise class. She arrived to find some of the ladies already leading the group. Laverne writes that three of these women “can’t wait to be training to take over!”
The person responsible for training in the city council was present at a recent session. “At the end of class the 3 ladies told her that they were my trainees and I confirmed it. She replied, ‘Really? Is there a course
or something they can do, because I have funding for training people.'”
Laverne says, “I have to confess that for the last 9 months since this whole gym thing began, I kept thinking of these women as leaders, but saw it as a problem because they don’t share my faith… But from today, for some strange reason, I’m beginning to view them (differently). I’m seeing what gifts and abilities they will bring, how they will actually help to develop the vision that God is giving to us… And its funny cos seeing it in this new way, is suddenly creating possibilities I had never seen
before! Keep praying! Never know what God will do next!”
BELONGING, INVOLVEMENT & BAPTISMS AT COPENHAGEN CAFE CHURCH!
“Last weekend we welcomed a new member,” reported Cafe Church pastor and planter Frank Rechter – a couple of weeks ago. “Betina Wiik baptized a wonderful young woman, Julie – who has already has been a part of our Alpha-course team for the last 8 weeks. She has been leading one of the 3 groups and has already experienced how the Holy Spirit is leading people to Christ through bible-teaching, prayer and dialogue.”
“Two other women who are doing the Alpha course have already signed up for baptism. So the Lord is blessing us in many ways!” reports Frank Rechter
STOCKHOLM INTERNATIONAL CHURCH PLANT – COMMITMENT!
Last weekend (March 27) the Stockholm Internation Church plant held what leaders see as ‘one of our best retreats.’ “We praised and prayed, and in the afternoon, we invited everyone to take a little test of where they stand when it comes to our core values, and how they want to do church,” says planter Mariusz Wieczorek. “We really experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit.” Late in the afternoon everyone had the opportunity to go up to a board to place a yellow sticker
– with their name if they chose – to indicate where they saw their level of commitment. The concentric circles invited people to indicate whether they were part of the community, the crowd, the congregation, or the committed.
“Thank God the center (representing the ‘committed’) was the most yellow!”
says Mariusz. “We pray that the future will be more and more exciting.”
CLUB 39 – REACHING TEENS (Linköping, Sweden)
Club 39 now has around 45-50 teens involved each week – with 30 – 40 staff and volunteers. Volunteers and staff are building of trust and confidence in the weekly Club 39 activities. “In spite of the sad passing away of one of the core leaders last fall, Club 39 has continued to grow and God is blessing the ministry in many ways,” say leaders Daniel Lamberth & Maria Sundvall.
The conversations often turn to issues of faith and questions in life.
This is especially true concerning the older teens. “We have experienced that trust is built up amazingly fast with the teenagers and their need to talk about what matters is very clear,” say Daniel & Marie. “We can also see the needs in the teenagers’ lives that this world is causing. There are many broken lives and broken homes that need healing, many relationships within families that need reconciliation. Many have parents with alcohol problems or other similar problems.”
The teenagers are expressing a sense of ownership of Club 39. They are writing on whiteboards that they want to live in Club 39 because you can be real there. When asked what could be better – ntheir reply was: “You and the computers are the best! We are satisfied as it is.” “They only wish they have is that we would have Club 39 open more,” say Daniel & Marie.
CLUB 39 – MUSIC REACHES TEENS!
“Lately we have engaged some of the teenagers in singing and playing music under the supervision of some musically talented leaders,” say Club
39 leaders Daniel Lamberth & Maria Sundvall. “The music has mostly been secular although the teenagers often choose to sing songs with depth to them. At times we have also been able to use Christian music to awaken their senses to the fact that there is a God who loves them. The opportunities come every now and then. One of the teens participated in leading the worship on a national teenager get together this weekend (19-21 March).”
A couple of weeks ago three teenagers entered the worship room to pray! They were worried about an ill friend. Two of them had never prayed before and when entering through the door they asked a leader sitting by the piano how to pray. They then sat down and prayed the best they knew how! “We want to thank everyone who has prayed for us and emphasize our need of continuous prayer,” write Daniel & Marie.
BLUE Spiritual Gifts Seminar
BLUE is running a Spiritual Gifts Seminar to give an opportunity to their team and attenders to discover how they can best (and most
comfortably) serve God and their communities. Has your church plant core team reviewed the spiritual gifts of attenders recently? Are you helping people to find their place – in harmony with their gifts, personality, passion and interests?
COPENHAGEN CAFE CHURCH – TEENS LOOKING FORWARD TO BAPTISM!
“Many of our teenagers are looking forward to be baptised this summer,” say Betina Wiik. “Weekly we encouraged by new people attending the church and others growing into our service-fellowship and church-membership!”
‘FOCUS’ FEATURED IN PRESS!
Trace White from ‘FOCAS’ church plant in Boras (Sweden) reports that “two reporters from the local newspaper showed up unannounced” at their monthly Café service. “The following Monday the Café story appeared in the paper giving us some really positive press!”
Two ministries that are proving popular are “100% Kids” and a developing newtork of small groups. Parents are present – but the early teens invite their friends and lead “100% Kids.” “We have had as many as 40 kids there – most of them from the community,” reports Trace
“The most exciting thing happening in FOCUS however is the birthing of small groups or house groups,” says Trace. “We have decided that we want to be a church of small groups, so that the house group is one of the most important venues for fellowship, spiritual nourishment personal care and the catalyst toward Christian service. To date we have four such groups – with three more about to be birthed. These are creating safe places to take our seeker friends and to build up each other.”
CHURCH PLANTS & CRITICS …
The preacher Haddon Robinson tells about the young musician’s concert which was poorly received by the critics. The famous Finnish composer Jean Sibelius consoled him by patting him on the shoulder and saying, “Remember, son, there is no city in the world where they have a statue to a critic.”
Come to think of it – there are not too many churches planted or revitalised to reach lost people that were planted by critics! (See PREACHINGNOW – Vol. 3, No. 12 – March 30, 2004)
‘THE PASSION OF CHRIST’ – EVANGELISTIC POSSIBILITIES –
Mel Gibson’s film ‘The Passion of Christ’ is breaking box office records. As Don McFarlane has written, “Whatever I and other Church leaders think about the film, one thing is certain – it provides an unprecedented opportunity to present Jesus as the Saviour of the world.”
Here are some possibilities –
1) The South England Conference has prepared a leaflet about the true meaning of the Passion of Christ, which will be distributed by members outside movie theatres. The leaflet invites readers to apply for a Bible correspondence course that will help them to understand more about the Passion of Jesus. Pastors have been encouraged to open their churches on Easter Sunday and present a sermon on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. A pdf version of the leaflet can be downloaded from:
2) The second quarter’s edition of the BUC Focus magazine will feature “The Passion of the Christ” on the front cover and will be available from the Stanborough Press in time for the release of the film on Friday 26 March.
3) Willow Creek is conducting a four week series called ‘The Man Behind The Movie.’ Their members invite a friend to see the movie and give to them a discussion guide entitled ‘Experiencing the Passion of Jesus’ by Lee Strobel and Garry Poole. To get quantities of this guide – phone WCA UK at
+44 (0)845 1300 909.
CONVERSATIONAL PRAYER …
# There are a couple of good reasons not to pray around the circle –
1. If there are new people who have never prayed (or never prayed in
public) – when it comes their turn around the circle they can be very embarrassed.
2. When we pray around the circle – those who are still going to pray can be thinking more about what they will say to God than what the other people are praying.
3. This means that instead of really talking with God – we tend to make speaches to Him when it comes our turn.
# These ideas can help people in your groups to talk with God –
1. Talk with God about one subject at a time. The whole group (or those in the group who would like to) can speak with God about a special need, or a person – and, then the group can move to another subject in prayer.
2. This means that you do not need to list things to pray about before you start praying as a group. In the middle of the prayer, someone (for example – the leader) can ask, “Is there something else we woul like to talk with God about?” Then everyone can pray about that.
3. Each person can prayer (talk with God) about many times – but, each prayer is short like a comment in a conversation in a group.
4. Sometimes people in the group will want to just remain quiet in God’s presence – or listen to the prayers (conversation) of others.
GOD IS GIVING LAVERNE A HARD TIME …
“Check this out,” writes Laverne. “This morning I asked God to help me to have a spiritual conversation with one of the women that I see once a week for an exercise session (at the Gym Fellowship). Guess what? We did!”
“But here comes the funny bit,” says Laverne. “We talked about prayer and she (a Sikh) says she spends about 2.5 hours in silent prayer. Do I feel ashamed? I can’t even stop talking (Editor’s Note: Those of us who love Laverne – know that she speaks the truth!) when I go to pray. Have
“It gets worse!” Laverne writes. “I asked her if she ever has a picture of God when she prays – and what does she see? She says a light.
Sometimes its a bright yellow light or golden. Do you see the light she asked? My Lord. Why does God do these things to me? First my agnostic friend (a couple months ago) told me that she hears God talking to her audibly when she prays (and I taught her to pray).
She was absolutely surprised that I don’t hear God. Now this Sikh woman sees light when she prays. God loves to give me a hard time!”