The last few weeks have been exciting. While in Pakistan I was involved in the dedication of five new church buildings for new plants or revitalised churches. We also put in place plans to extend the church planting programme – to establish clusters of churches in ten major cities.
Then, while in England for a couple of days, I joined Pastor Don McFarlane, president of the South England Conference, and the pastors from the greater London area – as they discussed their plans to plant 20 new churches in London during the next five years. Also, while in Bosnia-Herzegovina that week, I looked at a property for the new church
plant in Tuzla and spent time planning with leaders and planters.
Among other things, in this NEWS – you will learn of the first teen worship service in a new church plant in Copenhagen, a Bible camp for unchurched people attending new church plants in Hungary, and multi-campus church planting. You will be blessed.
CHURCH PLANTING NEWS – 27 May 04
In this NEWS …
# LONDON CHURCH PLANTING …
# CHURCH PLANTING BIBLE CAMP … a real success!
# ‘REMIX’ – FIRST TEEN WORSHIP SERVICE HELD IN COPENHAGEN # COMMUNITY INVOLVED IN STAFFING ‘COTTAGE BECK COMMUNITY CHURCH’
(Scunthorpe, North England)
# A SABBATH BLESSING …
# DECISION FOR JESUS …
# GENESIS … the Gym Church Project!
# NEW CHURCH PLANT – WEST BLETCHLEY
# ‘SALT’ IN STOCKHOLM
# STOCKHOLM INTERNATIONAL CHURCH PLANT – SECOND WORSHIP SERVICE # CREEKSIDE COMMUNITY CHURCH – MULTI-CAMPUS CHURCH PLANTING TAKES OFF!
# TOUCHING LIVES AT THE YEOVIL FAMILY CAMP!
# RON GLADDEN RECOMMENDS … a book that you definitely need to read!
LONDON CHURCH PLANTING …
“It is already happening in London,” Don McFarlane, president of the South England Conference, explained – as he encouraged the pastors in their planning to plant 20 new churches in London. Over the previous 3 weeks Don has been involved in the launch of 3 new church plants – and a fourth is being launched in June.
CHURCH PLANTING BIBLE CAMP … a real success!
“We had more than 40 people come to our Church Planting Bible Camp,”
writes Laszlo Szabo – church planting director in Hungary. “The topic for the week was ‘Meet Jesus.’ Most people came from new church plants. Some church plants had simply invited all friends from their evangelistic outreach meetings. Some church planters planned so that the camp was followed by their first public worship service.”
To start with leaders and members told their conversion stories.
Because many had not been involved in discussions of doctrine – some wondered how friends would relate to the Sabbath. “At the beginning of the camp many were against the idea of the Sabbath,” says Laszlo, “and they expressed their opinions openly. However, we told our conversion stories – and that included the Sabbath as well. We witnessed that this day is very special for us. If someone has never tried it, they cannot understand the blessings connected to the Sabbath.” On Friday afternoon the whole group requested that they have the opportunity to celebrate a real biblical Sabbath.
“On Sabbath 12 people responded to an invitation to follow Jesus,”
says Laszlo. “Many experienced a real encounter with God. It was a week with many testimonies, special programmes, lots of talking, walking and sport.”
‘REMIX’ – FIRST TEEN WORSHIP SERVICE HELD IN COPENHAGEN
Colour, liveliness, chatter, expectation, music, open and questioning faces – are just some of the words to describe the atmosphere of the first Teenage service in North West Copenhagen, held on Saturday evening March 27. After three years of work through the ‘Plug-In’ club – a vision and dream had finally become a reality. Final preparations began at one o’clock in the afternoon – when the project group leaders and quite a few teenagers met to set up the church in teenage style! The teens chose the name ‘REMIX’ for their worship services – and were enthusiastic in designing a graffiti style backdrop and preparing some fun refreshments.
‘There’s Got To Be More To Life’ was the theme for this first teen worship service – and this was presented in a very creative way by Tina Kjeldal and Lasse Bech. 37 teenagers attended – including 13 local teens from ‘Plug-In; 13 from Adventist families; and, another 11 of their non-christian friends. They were challenged to take a step in their lives
– and to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” Many took the opportunity to take home a PRAYER CARD so that they could begin to pray. Others chose to recieve personal prayer from some members of the project group.
Rebecca Torsten writes, “For me personally the evening was a wonderful, heavenly experience, where I was able to taste the joy of taking part in the spreading of God’s kingdom. To reach out to teenagers who don’t know God yet, gave me a joy that I can’t descibe. My prayer is that God will continue to bless this church plant, and that there will be more and more people who come to experience God’s reality in their lives.”
COMMUNITY INVOLVED IN STAFFING ‘COTTAGE BECK COMMUNITY CHURCH’ (Scunthorpe, North England)
Bryan & Isobel Webster have reported encouraging developments at Cottage Beck Cafe Church. Two unchurched ladies have been involved regularly in running the Cafe – and growing spiritually. In fact when the sad news came that Eija’s grandma had died, one of these unchurched ladies asked, “Should we say a prayer for Eija?” And that’s what they did!
“Another very encouraging thing is the work Michael has started in the community by starting the Neighbourhood Watch scheme on Cottage Beck Road,” write Isobel & Bryan. “It has given him access to every home, and he is good at making friends. It has also given us a chance to meet some key people in Scunthorpe, in the council and the police. Michael is a tremendous blessing to Cafe Church.”
A SABBATH BLESSING …
The church planting director in Hungary, Laszlo Szabo, tells of one ‘encounter with God’ experienced at their Church Planting Bible Camp.
During the week one lady lost some very precious jewelry in the grass on the shore of the lake. Many joined in searching for it on the Thursday and Friday – but, without success. “On Sabbath afternoon I invited the people to go for a Sabbath walk,” writes Laszlo. “We went to the shore and one person looked down at the place where the jewelry had been lost in the
grass on Thursday – and she found it immediately. A Catholic lady was so
touched by this that she exclaimed to the whole group, ‘Look, there is a real blessing upon the Sabbath. This functions like the pastor has said!
It is amazing!'”
DECISION FOR JESUS …
“An unchurched lady who came with the Hereford small group to see the Passion has made a decision for Christ,” writes planter Rosemary Lethbridge. “We have been going through a series of studies using the Willowcreek book written by Lee Strobel. Didn’t stop singing and praising all the hour it take me to get home!”
GENESIS … the Gym Church Project!
GENESIS (a new beginning) is the proposal new name of the ‘Gym Church.’ Laverne envisages it as ‘the beginning’ of a whole range of initiatives (chapters) such as GENESIS Weekends, GENESIS Holidays, GENESIS Kid’s Club, GENESIS Food, GENESIS Gym, etc. People will be equipped who will ‘move out’ (Exodus) into other communities. GENESIS Life could be the spiritual growth experience for people of major world religions. This is an exciting initiative. Because of sesitivities we cannot share much in writing – but, A LOT is happening! Answers to prayer … spiritual growth …
NEW CHURCH PLANT – WEST BLETCHLEY
Sabbath June 19 is the day for the launch of the new church plant in West Bletchley. Pastor and planter Colin Stewart – who also pastors churches in Milton Keynes and Bedford Central – writes, “We are all excited at the speed that the community has formed. We have at least 12 to 15 new members of the community coming to church on a regular basis. Our attendance at the West Bletchley SDA Community Church is 60-70 people.”
‘SALT’ IN STOCKHOLM
SALT is the working name for the groups working to establish new Swedish church plants in Stockholm. This is a great concept – reminding us of the words of Jesus when he spoke of us as ‘the salt of the world’ (Matt
5:13) sent by him to bring good flavour to the soup of the world!
STOCKHOLM INTERNATIONAL CHURCH PLANT – SECOND WORSHIP SERVICE
“We had our second afternoon worship service last Saturday (April 24),” reports planter Mariusz Wieczorek. “We had great fellowship with God and each other. We had around 35 present – and even more came after for fellowship and food. We had new people attend and a family atmostphere is being established.”
CREEKSIDE COMMUNITY CHURCH – MULTI-CAMPUS CHURCH PLANTING TAKES OFF!
Some have been following Ron Gladden’s reports of the Creekside Community Church (North America). This new Adventist church plant has now launched a second – what they call the ‘North Shore’ Campus. The planter/pastor, Colin Griffith has been very excited about the results.
Colin writes, “The opening of the North Shore campus has happened – what an amazing, Spirit filled day. So many good things happened. God just took the stuff we did – and the stuff we missed – and added his blessing and presence to it. I wanted to pinch myself a few times to make sure I was not dreaming.”
Colin reports that they had 85 people in attendance with over 50 visitors. (This set a record for Creekside Community Church – with the combined attendance of both campuses going over 200 for the first time.) Colin speaks of “the huge benefit of using the multi campus approach to church planting.”
TOUCHING LIVES AT THE YEOVIL FAMILY CAMP!
In the BUC News (30 April 04) Adrian Lethbridge reports on the fourth Yeovil Family Camp held at the Chapel Porth campsite in Cornwall over Easter (9-13 April). Over seventy people attended and participated in a wide range of activities including a bonfire, singing, swimming, counselling, and games such as ‘Finding Nemo’ and an Easter egg hunt. The camp was organised by the planters of Yeovil Family Church, Leslie and Dana King – and assisted by a small number of Adventists and unchurched friends.
Six years ago Leslie and Dana moved to Yeovil with a vision to plant a church. They have become fully involved in the community – daily demonstrating the love of God in their lives. Although progress has appeared slow – it is most definitely happening, reports Adrian Lethbridge.
Of the seventy people who attended the Yeovil Family Camp, over 75% were unchurched people. Some came from broken or dysfunctional families.
Conflicts that arose were dealt with quietly and lovingly. Children learnt to respond to quiet and calm instructions – rather than the shouting and swearing to which they are often subjected.
“Having been involved with the Yeovil project from the start,” says Adrian, “I have seen significant changes in the lives of people touched by Leslie and Dana’s ministry. The process of ‘belonging before believing’ has been yielding gradual life changes among the completely unchurched people they work with.”
RON GLADDEN RECOMMENDS … a book that you definitely need to read!
“Steve Sjogren’s latest book is titled, “Irresistible Evangelism” and outlines the logical next step that churches must take to reach people for Christ after briefly touching them with servant evangelism.
“We all know that evangelism is not an event, it’s a process; we reap in a different season than we sow. Sjogren compares evangelism to golf by noting that getting a golf ball from the tee into the hole is a process.
Golfers use different clubs depending on how far the ball is from the hole.
If the ball is far away, you use a driver. If the ball is close to the hole, you use a putter.
“Servant evangelism is a driver. But if that’s all you do, you will rarely score (holes in one happen, but they’re rare). The reaping series is the putter. If someone is already interested in the Bible and in God, the putter is the right club for them. If they are far from God, they’ll rarely be reached by the reaping series. Sjogren divides what we would call the left-of-the-cross portion of the evangelism scale into 4 areas and suggests
4 different types of “clubs”/events to move a lost person closer to the hole/cross.
“If you haven’t already, you gotta read it! George Hunter says, ‘I believe this may be one of the most useful books on evangelism published in our lifetimes.'”