Here are a couple of good suggestions – and, some encouraging church planting stories as well! I encourage you to share a brief report of what is happening in your church plant – for next week’s NEWS! These stories provide ministry ideas and encourage others.
CHURCH PLANTING NEWS – 29 Jan 03
RON GLADDEN RECOMMENDS!
Have you read “Dog Training, Fly Fishing and Sharing Christ” by Ted Haggard? “It is the best book on how to do small groups in our countries,”
writes Ron. “It’s well written and actually fun to read!”
FREE BIBLE SOFTWARE
“If you have a fast download connection, this Bible software site is very interesting if you want to use free Bible commentaries, dictionaries, maps etc,” writes Gavin Anthony. “There is a lot available for free for those who do not have money to buy software. It is really worth checking out. <http://www.e-sword.net/>”
HELSINKI CHURCH PLANTING REACHES LOST PEOPLE
Church planting tests faith and energy – but results in decisions for Jesus and baptisms. The SEEDcafe team is working to plant a church to reach the unchurched in Helsinki, Finland. The cafe is open between
20.00-23.00 a number of evenings each week. Some ‘customers’ come back
each evening – like the man who has asked for an explanation of the 27 fundamental teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Well educated and influential, this gentleman indicates that he is now a Sabbath keeper.
However, it takes commitment.
“Last Saturday evening,” says church planter and pastor, Atte Helminen, “We had a very good gospel band – but, not a single ‘customer’!”
At 21.00, when the band was about to play – there were still only about 15 people. Cafe team members who were present sent SMS messages to others who were not in the cafe that evening – saying, “come and sit here, we not many! At 21.30 one of the team members, Jani, introduced the band called ‘Jonah.’ They were good,” declares Helminen. “Suddenly the place was full of people. It took only about 5 minutes. The band was in fire and the people were having a good time.” After the band has played – a life illustration is shared to illustrate faith.
“SEEDcafe is part of a growing network of church plants in Europe,”
says Peter Roennfeldt, church planting coordinator for the Trans-European Division. “In Helsinki five church planting projects have established a network of 15 small home groups with over 40 unchurched friends involved.”
“The small groups are doing well,” says Helminen. “They are all building up their identity as evangelistic small groups. John Delapaz – who is planting an international church – recently baptised an unchurched
friend. A friend in my Vuosaari group was baptised at the same time. We
now have 12 people in that group – with more than half being unchurched friends – and, we will soon multiply into two groups. Regular training for leaders, coaches and coordinators is vital for an effective small group network developing throughout the city.”
The activities of the Helsinki church plants have included evangelistic meetings, Revelation seminars, and small groups exploring the book of Acts. The pastors of the established churches and the planters work as a team. “The pastors, planters and members in Helsinki have also decided to test the idea of all working as satellites of the one mission,”
says Roennfeldt. “Two Sabbaths have been chosen and a suitable facility hired. The idea is that a carefully planned evangelistic worship service will provide a setting to which to invite cafe contacts, small group members and friends. All Adventist churches and groups will be involved – and it is expected that at least 200 people will join for the worship services. Small group leaders and coaches will be affirmed publicly.”
“We have a long way to go, a lot to learn, and only God knows what will happen,” says Helminen. “But, we have no regrets that we have started church planting!”
RIVERS COMMUNITY CHURCH – JOINED BY ABORIGINAL LEADERS (Independent Sabbath keeping church plant in Brisbane, Australia)
Rivers Community Church meets in a venue that is also the aboriginal cultural centre. “Last Sabbath group of aboriginals were meeting there to prepare a ‘float’ for the Australia day march in Brisbane,” writes planter Wayne Spyve. “They had an interesting twist to the day calling it ‘Invasion Day.’ I invited them to join Rivers for the day and so I interviewed Gresham – an aboriginal elder from West End, Brisbane. It turned out that Gresham is a Christian and we prayed for his leadership in the aboriginal community during our church service. We also invited them all to enjoy lunch with us at our free BBQ lunch, which they gratefully accepted!”
FOR THOSE IN AUSTRALIA – Mosques and Miracles Conference!
Crossway Baptist Church in Melbourne is hosting a ‘Mosques and Miracles Conference’ – 11-13 March 2003. Topics include: Loving Muslims, Cultural Outreach Methods, The Koran, Interacting with Islam etc. For email information and registration contact <[email protected]>