Over 100 church planters attended the Netherlands Church Planters X-Change during Pentecost weekend (May 28-30). 8 church planting teams were joined by others who were exploring the possibilities – with the potential of 3-4 new church planting core teams developing. The theme was ‘Living Through the Spirit.’ Church planting director, Rudy Dingjan, provided each person with a selection of Bible readings relating to the person and work of the Holy Spirit – for daily meditation for the 10 days preceding the X-Change.
We participated in a ‘Uni&k Experience’ (the Utrecht University Church plant’s worship experince for unchurched friends); explored our relationship with the Holy Spirit; and discussed case studies.
Participants had the opportunity to attend workshops on ‘Conflict Management’ (with Reinder Bruinsma) and ‘Getting Acquainted With Alpha’
(with Jan Rokus).
Then, during the last week Judy and I have been in Montenegro with planters working in Muslim communities. These groups are committed to providing opportunities for ‘faith development in context.’
In this news you will read of decisions for Jesus, the powerful influence of authentic relationships with the community – and the impact of a wedding! Church planters – God is using you to touch people with His love. You are doing what He wants!
CHURCH PLANTING NEWS – 9 June 04
In this NEWS …
# ‘KORINTA’ – DECISIONS FOR JESUS!
# NETWORKING LEADS TO RESPONSIBILITIES
# COTTAGE BECK CAFE CHURCH – WEDDING ATTRACTS MEDIA ATTENTION # COMING UP … BLUE : SYNERGY # WHY ARE CHURCHES NOT PREVAILING? WHY ARE PASTORS FEELING EMPTY? – the observations of a young volunteer church planter!
# YEOVIL FAMILY CHURCH
# SOUTHSIDE – COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES CHANGE LIVES!
# VIDEOS & BOOKS – “The 7 Habits of Highly Ineffective Churches” …
‘KORINTA’ – DECISIONS FOR JESUS!
Over the last couple of weeks 10 people have signed up for a baptism class – to prepare for their baptism into the Lord Jesus. “Isn’t that exciting?” writes ‘Korinta’ (Riga, Latvia) church planter Juris Rekis. “It is also exciting because I knew a lot of these people when they were non-christians. So, this a big WOW to me! And I know that God still does miracles today!” As Juris says – God has taken a couple of teenagers and through them He has changed the lives of many!
NETWORKING LEADS TO RESPONSIBILITIES
“I have been invited onto a committee for a new childrens centre that has been approved for Yeovil,” reports church planter Dana King. “A number of key significant people are also represented – so I felt quite priviliged to be there. I was amazed how far ahead we were with networking in our local community compared to the local authorities.”
Dana was able to provide vital information and connect people for the development of a more integrated community family service. “Many are now looking to us to meet many of the local demands and explain how to provide a more wholistic service,” says Dana. “It’s a real priviledge to walk amoung men seeking their good.”
COTTAGE BECK CAFE CHURCH – WEDDING ATTRACTS MEDIA ATTENTION
“Andrew and Eija’s wedding went literally like a dream,” report planters Isobel & Bryan Webster. “The local television recorded the entire event – as well as recording interviews with them the week earlier. The newspaper gave it a full page spread – and the whole of Scunthorpe now knows that the Cafe Church is a ‘fully-fledged church’ (as the TV put it).”
Isobel and Bryan say that, “The timing was perfect to move our image in that direction, as we have made friends and have people’s trust.”
COMING UP … BLUE : SYNERGY
“Yes, that’s right Synergy is happening this coming Saturday (12 June at 5 pm) at the Stanborough Centre,” writes Dan. “The subject this month is: Relationships with an invisible God.” There will be the usual elements like drama and music. “So bring yourself,” says Dan. “And, ask your neighbours to come. Ask your friends to come from school, Uni or work. Its going to be a BLUE : SYNERGY that you shouldn’t miss as this maybe the key to unlocking your seemingly one way relationship.”
WHY ARE CHURCHES NOT PREVAILING? WHY ARE PASTORS FEELING EMPTY? – the observations of a young volunteer church planter!
Two week’s ago a young volunteer church planter was sitting in a seminar. He was asking himself – why is it that the Adventist church in my country is growing – with the numbers much the same as in the 1990’s? Why are the churches not prevailing? Why are the pastors feeling empty? And how do we get such commiment and faithfulness as we see in some of the new church plants and fellowships – such as KORINTA and Cesis? Juris Rekis made these observations – # I understood that it is not dependant on wages – for in KORINTA no one is employed.
# It can’t be the music – for we use one style of music and the Cesis church fellowship uses another.
# Small groups, relevant worship services and participation are essemtials. But still there can be something missing.
Juris observes that we may be missing the ‘soul’ or the basic essentials –
1) ENCOURAGEMENT: “No one in the church encourages others,” observes Juris. “No one! The pastors are not encouraged – and so they have no power, strength or courage to encourage others to step up and become devoted to making God’s dream of everyone saved (speakiing in big terms) possible.” Juris has noted that there is no one putting a hand on the pastor’s shoulder and saying – “You are doing great! God is working through you! Just let Him pour his Spirit through your life and you will see what He can do! I am so glad that you are giving God such a big part of your life!” Sometimes it seems that the church is trying to avoid encouraging people!.
2) FOCUS: Juris observes – “The hope of the world is the local church.”
Somehow we have fallen into the trap of trying to grow conferences – while the focus should be upon growing local churches!
3) VISION: “We are truly running laps – rather than a course,” Juris observes. “Churches have settled into a routine – doing the same thing that they have done for 50 years. There is no longer a goal which we are trying to reach.”
YEOVIL FAMILY CHURCH
Church planters Dana & Leslie King are following a four stage process
– befriending, belonging, believing and becoming. With the rapid growth of all their services to the community (under the umbrella charity ‘Time Out
Together’) they have receiving funding grants – and are focused upon the following goals –
1) To equip adults/parents from the community to take over the leadership, planning and organisation of the clubs. “This has proved to be exremely successful,” Leslie & Dana say. “We now have two Adventurer groups running at the same time.” Leslie and Dana are training 3 parents.
The involvement of these parents led to a significant increase in the attendence of their fourth Yeovil Family Camp in May. Over seventy people attended of which only 15-20 were Adventists.
2) To build even closer and authentic relationships. This has resulted in people opening their lives and hearts to Dana & Leslie – sharing their struggles with addictions – and some now wish to share in their Sabbath worship. One person has said, “This is the first time I have come accross people that see people as people and not numbers and potiental law suits.” Dana writes, “We are trying to develop people’s skills, build self-steem and self-worth – and intergrate them into a wider and more positive circle of friends. The time will come when their hearts open to God more fully.”
3) To obtain a place that they can call their own. It has been a real struggle – and their have been disappointments. However, some of the community centres where they run their programmes accept tham as part of their committees – and trusting and credible relationships are being extended.
“One of our greatest challenge – and an area in which we would appreciate training – is how to build a strong team of unbelievers around you!” write Dana and Leslie. (Dana & Leslie – we are challenged and inspired by the enormous network that you have built for God. You are extending His kingdom. We are praying for you. – Peter Roennfeldt.)
SOUTHSIDE – COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES CHANGE LIVES!
“Last week was a real buzz!” we read in e-southside – reporting on the activities of members in renovating a home in the community. “There were lots of warm fuzzies when Terri came home to her surprise which included a total refurbishment of her house, a new extension, all new furniture and furnishings, a new spa and a new car!”
The television programme ‘A Current Affair’ was there to record the surprise – and the segment is going to be aired on Monday 14 June.