More than 400 have gathered for a Mission Conference In Bobbio Pellice – the destination of the Waldensian (Vaudois) people on this historic Glorious Return to their valleys from the shores of Lake Geneva in 1755. The Waldensians hid in these valleys from the armies of church and state. From the seclusion and security of these valleys they travelled to the towns and cities to sell their wares and to share the Word of God and the story of Jesus Christ with any receptive person they could find. At this congress we have heard stories of faith being shared in Europe – and new churches and groups of faith being cultivated. You may gain inspiration and ideas from these short snippets.
Be courageous and faithful in making disciples – and multiplying church plants,
CHURCH PLANTING NEWS – 2 Sept 2012
Home Groups are Creating New Environments of Faith: Paulo Giameta, a young church leader from Bergamo (Italy), tells of how 3 years ago he was about to step back from involvement in church. However, right at that time a visitor to church heard comment about ‘house groups’ and enquired whether she could start such a group in her home. Paulo and an elder visited, a group was started in her home – and through her family ‘stream’ 15 new unchurched people now gather, with 4 already baptized into Christ.
Every Believer’s Home Could Become a Church: Reflecting on the New Testament concept of church, Paola Benini – a coordinator for mission and church planting in Europe commented, ‘Every family and every house of a believer can become a church!’ He continued, ‘Just imagine the impact in our secular countries of Europe if every believing family opened their home as a church!”
‘Hello’ on the Street leads to New Gathering: Bobbie and Dina moved to Bordeaux (France). They knew no one but a pastor, his wife and two children – who were fostering house groups. Bobbie, a big man, went out onto streets of this Atlantic Sea side French city – simply greeting people. Bobbie says, ‘Your hello can be from the Holy Spirit – like God’s greeting to discouraged people!’ Those who responded he invited to his home where he and Dina welcomed them, gathering almost 20 people.
Migrant Students at Universities: Samuel encouraged his son at university to care for migrant students – for he remembers his difficult time at university as a foreign student. His son befriended two Arab students – an atheist from Israel and a Muslim from Yemen. They were invited home. The family became their ‘adopted home’ – the atheist is now a baptized believer and sharing faith, the Muslim is growing in his spiritual journey.
Interest in Creation leads to Church Plant: Jörg Wurmitze, an engineering technician from the region of Kirchdorf in upper Austria, shared seminars and DVDs of creation in his community – leading to 3 evening discussions on creation-evolution. This awakened interest in the Bible followed by further discussions of biblical and prophetic themes in home groups – and other seminars on communicating with God (prayer). Jörg says ‘socializing with people as we discuss the Bible is a big thing’. One person has accepted Jesus Christ and been baptized. Another large family connection is now exploring the biblical story.
Waldensian Project: The commitment of the Waldensians to sharing the written Word of God has inspired an initiative in Romania in which Bibles and Christian literature is sold through market-booths and house-to-house (or heart-to-heart).
Choirs Share Jesus: Moving into an Austrian valley 5 years ago, Anneliese Lûtsch felt impressed to start a choir, singing gospel music. Within 3 months there were 8 members – with the first community concert. Now there are 25 members in the adult choir – and the most recent concert attracted 600 people, listening to the story of the Gospel in music. The Mayor of the community is supportive – and choir members as well as community people are now involved in Bible reading groups. Plans for a children’s choir has attracted over 60 children from the community – with opportunities for prayer and witness.
Young People Pray on the Streets: A small group of young adults in Milano (north Italy) have been going on the streets, into the gardens and market places to pray and quietly sing gospel songs. One day it was raining and they went to a more sheltered area where they had not been before. A group of Italians and Pakistani Muslims gathered to listen and take pictures. George says, ‘We invited them to sing with us. We prayed with them – and embraced them. They are now friends.’
Caleb Mission in Italian Community: In an Italian community of Switzerland a group of young adult believers have created T-shirts with the logo Caleb Mission – and another, Free Hugs. They set up a booth on a busy street – hug people, offer to talk, and share snacks, Christian literature and music. They are connecting with people – and through friendship, leading young adults to Jesus Christ. One said, ‘It has reinforced my beliefs to see how God works with us!’
Prayer on the Streets: Young people are going onto the streets of Europe, approaching people and asking, ‘Would you to pray with me?’ or ‘Would you like me to pray with you?’ They have found that a significant number of people, while surprised, accept the invitation to have someone pray that God will help them with family or personal problems. Muslim people have been very receptive.
Other Ideas for Connecting with People –
– Public reading of the Bible in town squares in the Czech Republic
– Creative street booths featuring various themes (Halloween, Easter, Christmas etc) – sharing colorful papers, books and DVDs
Melbourne Pastor Planting a House Church: Preston Adventist Church pastor Georges Latchman is starting a new plant in a garage in Craigieburn (a northern suburb of Melbourne). 12 unchurched secondary students are being offered math and Bible coaching – and a new group is forming.
Resources (more resources & stories – www.newchurchlife.com)
‘From Buddha to Jesus’ translated into French: Steve Cioccolanti’s outstanding book on how to reach Buddhists with the message of salvation is now available in French from http://amzn.to/O96So6 .
Download Planting Churches that Multiply – Conversation Guide from https://www.newchurchlife.com/index.php/resources/ for equipping teams in postmodern contexts.
Ideas from Tim Scheuer – Church Army Planting Coordinator: Tim recently wrote, ‘I have become convinced that in order for more Australians to be following Jesus we need to significantly increase the number of Australians who hear the gospel and are given the chance to respond. How many Australians will hear the gospel today? The number of people that make a decision to follow Jesus will most likely never exceed the numbers who hear the gospel! ‘Faith comes through hearing the message …’ Romans 10:17. Check out Tim’s blog for planting ideas: http://timssblog.wordpress.com/
Australian 2011 Census Reveals those identifying with ‘No Religion’ is Up! Gary Bouma identifies ten significant religious trends in Australia – including the number of Christians is down to 61% of the population (from 96% in 1911) and even the largest denominations (Catholic and Anglican) are shrinking in their percentage of the population – and there are now more Hindus than Lutherans, Pentecostals or Jews. Check out Gary Bouma’s summary!
CHURCH PLANTING NEWS