Sometimes we must create opportunities to introduce friends to Jesus. At other times the media and life events provide 'natural' openings. How are your small groups and church plants preparing and responding to the following opportunities? –
- Are you relating to desperate families? National Parenting Weeks – and the popularity of television programs advising parents on controlling 'out-of-control' kids – present planters with ideal opportunities to relate to real needs. Parenting weeks give opportunities for health education programs, counselling sessions, kids' clubs, presentations by single parents associations, fostering organisations, the ambulance services – and parenting initiatives. Has your church plant equipped and/or enlisted the necessary professionals to relate to community needs?
- If in Australia – are you 'using' the ABC Boyer Lectures? Archbishop Peter Jensen (Sydney Diocese, Australia) has been invited to present the ABC Radio Boyer Lectures for 2005. It is a rare opportunity for a church leader – and Jensen has decided to talk about Jesus. The first in the series (Sunday, 13 Nov 05) was entitled – Jesus, Prophet of End Times. His declared purpose is to get Australians reading the gospel accounts – and talking about Jesus. Has your small group or church plant prepared opportunities for reading and talking through a Gospel?
Will the Da Vinci Code movie (2006) give opportunities to relate to unchurched friends? Could the spiritual interests of postmoderns be met in some way by discussions of our experiences with the Holy Spirit living within us? Do you have plans to share the story of Jesus in the coming 'Christmas season'?
It could encourage other planters if you shared the plans you are working on – and some ministry ideas in this NEWS will certainly inspire.
CHURCH PLANTING NEWS – 17 Nov 05
In this NEWS …
- CHURCH PLANTING & BAPTISMS IN THE NETHERLANDS
- 40 DAYS OF PRAYER – PREPARATION FOR OPENING OF 'CAFE PORT'
- LONDON COMMUNITY CHOIR REPORT – INSPIRES COMMUNITY MINISTRY IN USA
- CHURCH PLANTING – MINISTRY IDEAS from the Baltics -\UK TEEN CHURCH PLANTING WEEKEND & X-CHANGE – JAN 2006
- 'MOSAIC' ACTIVE AT BOOK FARE
- 'ARK' GATHERS FRIENDS!
- EAST ANGLIA PASTORS TEAM UP TO PLANT IN THETFORD
- MINI CHURCH PLANTERS X-CHANGE – LEADS TO FURTHER BAPTISMS!
CHURCH PLANTING & BAPTISMS IN THE NETHERLANDS. "Church planting has firmly taken root in the Netherlands," said Reinder Bruinsma (leader of the Netherlands Union of Seventh-day Adventists) when commenting on the baptism of 51 people in the Hague – the largest baptism on a single day in the church's history in the country. Commenting on the almost weekly baptism in the Netherlands (including new believers at Harderwijk, Dordrecht, Apeldoorn, Eindhoven, Meppel and the Amsterdam-Ghanaian churches) – Bruinsma says, "This is not all directly the result of the church planting efforts – but, I believe, it is a significant side-effect. There is a new sense that the church can still grow and that we should not just sit and await the fatal moment when the last member (most likely a sister) will turn off the light!"
40 DAYS OF PRAYER – PREPARATION FOR OPENING OF 'CAFE PORT'. Church planting is a spiritual activity – and the planting team in Znojmo (Czech Republic) know it. "After 40 days of prayer and a weekend of commitment and dedication – the 25 core team members prepared for the opening of the new Cafe Port in downtown Znojmo," reported team members Pavel & Lenka Korensky. "We decided to pray intensively. We realize we cannot rely on our own reasoning." Prayer and hard work has been involved! This is a church plant to pray for and watch! Cafe Port is a tastefully presented, new cafe on the main city square – where people will come to know God and grow in faith.
LONDON COMMUNITY CHOIR REPORT – INSPIRES COMMUNITY MINISTRY IN USA. Faith Crumby, editor of an international small group Bible study resource (Sabbath School Leadership), reports that the CHURCH PLANTING NEWS story of Hope Community Church (London, England) launching a Community Choir inspired her to do the same. Faith writes, "Based on that story, I started two community choirs in my town. Hagerstown, Maryland, USA. The Hagerstown Children’s Community Choir will be giving our first concert just before Thanksgiving. We are now preparing to add a third group called Hagerstown Community Choir: Signs of Praise, which does sign language to music. Director for the mother group, Signs of Praise of Fredericksburg, Virginia, will be holding a workshop to teach our first few songs. This will enable people, especially parents of our children, who don’t believe they can sing to be active in the community choirs."
CHURCH PLANTING – MINISTRY IDEAS from the Baltics –
- The KORINTA (Latvia) church planting team simply invited all their friends who wanted to sing or play an instrument to an "information evening" – telling about their music ministry. Juris Rekis (founding planter – who was visiting at the time) says that 'after an hour of visioning and helping people see that in God's eyes they are worth a lot about 10 new unchurched people devoted themselves to the music ministry. Three girls decided to start a dance team. It felt so good to know that God is still doing amazing things through people."
- A 'dream team' of three creative people has been established to keep KORINTA thinking outside the box – to keep them relevant in relating to their unchurched friends. Kris, Kaspars and Martin will get together every week to 'think' – "how can we present the gospel in relevant and wonderful ways to our generation?"
- Egita is a social worker and teacher in Madona (Latvia) – a town plagued by depressing unemployment, social and addiction problems. Egita organised a Christian rock concert in Madona – and 120 people showed up. It is reported that Egita is "more excited than ever" – and that is difficult to imagine!
UK TEEN CHURCH PLANTING WEEKEND & X-CHANGE – JAN 2006. Church planting leaders in Britain are planning a church planting weekend for teens – "something smallish to explore ideas!" (6-8 January 2006) This will be followed by the UK Church Planters X-Change (27-29 January 2006). For more details contact David Cox [email protected], Paul Haworth [email protected] or Aris Vontzalidis [email protected]
'MOSAIC' ACTIVE AT BOOK FARE. Last year 'Mosaic' (a new church plant in Banja Luka, Bosnia i Herzegovina) team members sold 300 books at the local book fair – and decided to double that this year. "At the very end of the fair Miroslav Subasic was packing the books when a man approached seeking a specific book," reports Dragana Krnetic. "Miroslav suggested a similar but spiritual book. The man was uncertain and gave the book back. However, after taking a few steps he changed his mind and came back to buy the book. Later, Miroslav was surprised and happy to see that this book was the 600th sold on the day!" And, a new friendship has developed with the man who purchased the book! Another of their friends was recently baptised (Oct 1) in the cold Vrbas river.
'ARK' GATHERS FRIENDS! ARK was launched at the beginning of 2005 – with Dr Reinder Bruinsma (leader of the Adventist church in the Netherlands) as speaker and 10 visiting friends. Wim Willems, coordinator for ARK services, reports that ARK has now grown "to almost 50 visitors." This church plant features well qualified speakers and fosters quality classical music. Each worship service includes a 'question and answer' session. Recently the ARK team studied how to use medium sized adult Bible study groups (Sabbath school classes) in effective churches with Ian Hamilton (Church Resource Ministries – UK) and Gerard Frenk (of the Netherlands Adventist Church – and a guiding member of ARK). Wim says that they have received a lot of encouragement and support from church leaders.
EAST ANGLIA PASTORS TEAM UP TO PLANT IN THETFORD. With no members in Thetford (Norfolk, England) the pastors of East Anglia were unsure of the outcome of a vision to plant a new church in the town. The plan they developed involves the dual strands of "a punctuated evangelistic series and community involvement to establish small groups of contacts in the town" – reports Chris Peake, one of the pastors. Members from surrounding towns came to a fellowship day (25 June) where the idea was introduced – followed by an afternoon of door-to-door visitation that gave a good contact and an appreciation of community needs.
A concert was organised (24 September) in the town's hall – featuring a range of musical talent including Charles Ngandwe, who is well-known for his success on Stars in Their Eyes. "Admission was free, but a collection was taken for a local youth charity supported by the Mayor of Thetford – who came to explain its work and receive the cheque," reports Chris. "The result was magnificent – £400 donated to the town's youth, and a number of good friendships established with civic leaders!" The other feature of the concert was the promotion of the first series of evangelistic meetings: a set of four Thursday night seminars on "Amazing Discoveries in Bible Lands" led by Michael Walker (starting on 6 October). By the end of this set of four meetings – publicised by a four-week run of half-page newspaper adverts and the door-to-door distribution of about 7000 flyers – 18 friends were attending (including the Mayor and his wife).
A second set of "Amazing Discoveries" seminars is now being planned; another charity concert is planned for December 18 (once again featuring Charles Ngandwe and Tina Brooks) – and, plans are already forming to bring contacts together to worship.
MINI CHURCH PLANTERS X-CHANGE – LEADS TO FURTHER BAPTISMS! During October David Cox (British Union Church Planting Coordinator) and Juris Rekis (church planter and theology student) conducted a "small x-change" for the KORINTA (Latvia) church planting team and some friends. There were only 20 people there – and a baptism of 3 friends was planned. "However, after the first evening of presentations and prayers, one young guy stood up and said – there is nothing that will stop me from being baptised tomorrow," reports Juris. The next morning another friend was under the same conviction. "The Spirit did amazing things," says Juris. "We were 20 people. 5 got baptised – but we still had 5 not-yet-Christ-followers there. After the weekend two of those people said they would like to become a part of God's Kingdom and be baptised in the near future."
A QUOTE FOR CHURCH PLANTERS: "The Master Plan is not always apparent from this end of the future." – sent by Ani Holdsworth
CHURCH PLANTING NEWS