Tomorrow (Monday, June 16) is the deadline for applications to attend the CHURCH PLANTERS X-CHANGE 03 in Finland (August 3-10). If you are planning on coming – please immediately contact the church planting coordinator in your country. (At this stage over 300 planters have
registered.) X-CHANGE will provide an opportunity to share ministry ideas that are being used to reach lost people for Jesus Christ. It is important for a church planting core team to regularly review the effectiveness of the ministries – and to encourage fresh initiatives.
Recognising the current interest in topical/life presentations among ‘cafe goers’ in Copenhagen – CafeChurch has prepared attractive and professional advertising for a selection of workshops, discussions and presentations. This is an excellent idea. I want to encourage you all to keep on the cutting edge. God is using you to reach lost people for him.
CHURCH PLANTING NEWS – 15 June 03
DECHANI CHURCH PLANT – BAPTISMS FOLLOW DREAM!
“On Sabbath June 7 Agim and Ruka were baptised in a improvised baptism pool in Djakova, Kosovo – following the revelation of truth to them through the Bible and dreams,” reports Velimir Radovanovic, personal ministries director for the South Conference. “We were witnesses of the great work that God has done in the hearts of Agim and Ruka. The person who would lead them to their Saviour and the way they would be baptised was revealed to them in a dream.”
Agim and Ruka are the first couple to be baptised from the Dechani church plant. “They are refugees who have lost everything – but, now they have found shelter in Jesus and a home in the church,” says Radovanovic. “Although the weather was very warm, about 30 people were present for a time of celebration with them – singing, reading the Bible and praying. Half of those present were unchurched and this was the opportunity for them to see the power of God changing people’s hearts.”
Local district pastor and planter, Dijana Daka, was supported in this time of celebration by South Conference president, Milan Bajic, and personal ministries director, Velimir Radovanovic. On the same day two people were baptised by Nikola Aslimovski in Pristina, Kosovo.
Cafe BLUE – THE BEST INTRODUCTION TO CHRISTIANITY!
“At our last Cafe Blue evening Tony, an unchurched and searching person, said that this is the best introduction to Christianity he has ever had and promised to be there next time,” says leader Murray Harvey. “It is encouraging fact that most of the Blue guys bring their friends from work, university and people they meet socialising.”
At least 50% of the 90 or more guests are unchurched. “Cafe Blue offers a three course meal with a bar for non-alcoholic drinks – and, you cannot get a better vegetarian meal for such a reasonable cost anywhere in the vicinity!” reports Harvey. “We also offer live music and comedy (organised by the Blue Team) each Cafe throughout the evening.”
However, while the environment is relaxing and enjoyable – Cafe Blue challenges those who attend. “Just before desserts are served we have a talk about what God means to us and we share an invitation to learn more.
Those who attend for the first time are also offered a New Testament Bible as a gift,” says Harvey.
Blue started in 2000 and launched publicly with a Seeker Service in June 2001. “Within six months we recognised that we needed another avenue for unchurched people to come in contact with our concept of God,”
writes Harvey. “As a result, Cafe Blue was born on 23 February 2002. We had close to 90 guests of which one third were visitors. By the next cafe our unchurched guests was up to 50%.”
The motivation behind Cafe Blue is that all who come – young, old, Christians (perhaps who need refreshing) and most of all, those who are not believers – will taste the “Bread of Life”. The vision is to create an environment where people can come and not only enjoy a great night out, but make a new friends and hear what God means to “normal”
THE MOVING OF THE SPIRIT – BRINGS EXCITING CHALLENGES!
In the past, ‘personal ministry’ committees were elected and evangelistic plans laid out. Then members were invited to support an evangelistic programme or event. Today, we are witnessing a total change!
Across Europe we are seeing groups of friends getting together to pray, read their Bibles and develop a more meaningful relationship with the Holy Spirit. The result is that these groups are developing a deep burden to share the fellowship that they are enjoying and their renewed faith in Jesus with their lost friends. This presents a ‘challenge’ for these groups don’t usually fit the elected structures of local churches.
Church leaders and pastors now endeavour to identify where the Holy Spirit is moving – so as to provide prayer support, encouragement and counsel to those developing ‘missionary movements’ in their communities.
It is important to cultivate open dialogue between conference/Union leaders, pastors, local elders and these movements.
FACE OUT IS REACHING OUT!
FaceOut is a group of about eight friends in Denmark – some of whom have known each other for 40+ years (without giving away their ages!).
They have served in their four local established churches. However, for over a year they (with their children and young people) have been meeting to pray, worship and read their Bibles. Unchurched partners and friends have joined them Their renewed spiritual journey has developed a growing burden for their lost friends. As well as small groups – they have conducted a monthly Sabbath afternoon worship opportunity in a company board/conference room for their friends. This has been attracting over 50 people.
IT IS GOD’S WORK!
“This is what the LORD says to you, ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged … for the battle is not yours, but God’s… the LORD will be with you.'” (2 Chron. 20:15-17) Pia Elkjær – from the FaceOut group in Denmark – shares these verses as a reminder of the “great God that we are serving.”
Ron Gladden from the Adventist Church Planting Centre in Vancouver shares a regular newsletter – from which we have taken these reports which contain excellent ministry ideas. Pray for these church planters – and pray over these ministry idea. Perhaps there is an idea that you could use.
### Turning Point – Roseburg, OR – Last Sabbath was the official opening
of Turning Point Seventh-day Adventist church in Roseburg. (The church has been worshipping in pre-launch phase since the first of the year.) Lay pastors Dave & Susan Woods report that 122 attended, 31 of whom were non-member guests. The church advertised locally, but nearly everyone who attended came from a personal invitation. The kids’ choir sang and the young people performed a skit of the Good Samaritan. Every week God does something fantastic at Turning Point. Pray for David & Susan as well as everyone in Roseburg who needs to find eternal life.
### Midtown – Anchorage, AK – Pastor Brant Berglin and team just
finished an interesting Servant Evangelism project. Here is a note from
Brant: “Yesterday, Midtown Christian Fellowship offered a Free Bicycle Tune-Up to cyclists at the Tony Knowles and Chester Creek Trail systems junction. In 8 hours, we serviced over 50 bicycles. Every person asked who we were with, and most were amazed we were a church group, with many suggesting they were interested in attending our or asking where our church was. Several pictures are available at http://www.midtownchrist.com/ServantEvangelism.htm.
“One young man (the first ‘tune-up’ of the day), when he found out we were a church group said, ‘Yeah, the Big Guy upstairs isn’t done with me yet; but I’ve been kinda running from Him.’ We invited him to come to our awesome worship services. Several other spiritual conversations took place as well.
“We had 2 bicycle stands with 3 mechanics working full-time from 10:30am until 6:00pm, and we had to turn people away after 6:00 because the line was 7 bikes long; some people had waited nearly an hour to get the free tune-up. We directed people to our web-site where we’ll post the next date and time for this high-demand service. Praise God for its huge success, and the impact we made for His Kingdom! I can hardly wait to do some more!”
### LifeHouse – Lake Stevens, WA – Last Sabbath, two more persons were
baptized into the LifeHouse Seventh-day Adventist church in Lake Stevens.
In a few weeks, Pastor Shane will have the privilege of performing their wedding (the second couple Shane has baptized and then married). Shane reports that “almost without exception, we have at least one new person and usually more attend our services each week. We’re running four softball teams this year (up from last year’s three) and praying that they will be good paths for seekers to come to Christ. Currently, our coed teams have 18 players, half of which are not SDA (and actually, I can’t think of any of them that are Christians, either).
### Boise Church Plant – Boise, Idaho – If you’re fortunate enough to
receive Brian Yeager’s e-mail newsletter, you know the exciting things that are happening in the Boise area. Here is an abbreviated list of the
highlights: (1) On Memorial Day, they had their first “party with a purpose.” About 30 people showed up for a barbeque, softball, kids’
swimming pool, talking and just having fun! They had a ton of food (of course), and a great time meeting new people and making connections. (2) Every other week, they have a party with a purpose followed by some form of ministry in the community. (3) Every other Monday evening, Brian and others do hundreds of surveys in the Meridian area. “It’s been very interesting to get into the community,” Brian says, “and talk with people.
There are some people who are unchurched who are very excited about the idea of the church plant.” (4) The core group meeting has transitioned to a series of studies on experiencing a living relationship with God. Each person is committing to spend personal time with God and to be involved in outreach ministry each week. (5) Every Friday night is a visioning meeting at Brian and Michelle’s house. (6) Brian leads two Bible study groups comprised of mostly non-Adventists who are seeking. Brian ends a recent e-mail with this note: “We want to remind you of the basics of this new church: a) A church community that is accessible to the unchurched; b) A church that puts action behind the word “discipleship” and actively takes people from a decision for Christ to an active, radically committed relationship with God.; c) A church that is community based — designed to meet the spiritual, mental, physical and emotional needs of the community; d) A church community that experiences true fellowship with each other.”
IS IT GOOD ENOUGH FOR GOD? (Story from Ron Gladden – found in the Leadership Weekly)
Around Thanksgiving a few years ago, radio commentator Paul Harvey shared a true story of a woman and her frozen Thanksgiving turkey.
The Butterball Turkey Company set up a telephone hotline to answer consumer questions about preparing holiday turkeys. One woman called to inquire about cooking a turkey that had been in the bottom of her freezer for 23 years. That’s right–23 years. The Butterball representative told her the turkey would probably be safe to eat if the freezer had been kept below zero for the entire 23 years. But the Butterball representative warned her that even if the turkey was safe to eat, the flavor would probably have deteriorated to such a degree that she would not recommend eating it.
The caller replied, “That’s what I thought. We’ll give the turkey to our church.” – [Citation: Paul Harvey daily radio broadcast (11-22-95); submitted by Charles Kimball, Allen, Texas]