Remember, whatever the challenges in church planting, we have an amazing God! Don’t miss reading A CHURCH PLANTING STORY TO ENJOY – Music for Worship! You will be encouraged.
Of course it is an enormous privilege to be involved in leading people to Jesus and salvation. We are enriched “by becoming intensely interested in the salvation of others”. I like this old quotation that Frank Waldschmidt sent a couple of weeks ago. And the author went on to say, “This does not mean that you are to convert men to your way of doing, or to compel them to view things in the same light as you do; but you are to seek to present the truth as it is in Jesus, and labouring to be a blessing to others, you will be blessed of God abundantly.” It is true. As we identify with the interests and heart of God – using the SHAPE he has made us (spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality and experience) – we experience fellowship with God and learn what it is to pray in the Holy Spirit.
I rejoice in what God is doing through you. You are on the cutting edge of his activities to reach lost people.
Judy and I leave this evening to spend a few weeks with our family in Australia. We will be relaxing in sun and surf – and will spend an hour or so next week at Re-mix – a conference for the ‘emerging church’ in Sydney.
You will be in our prayers and thoughts.
CHURCH PLANTING NEWS – 30 Nov 04
In this NEWS …
Ø WATT Activities – FOR POSTMODERN FRIENDS
Ø TILBURG CHURCH PLANT – Plans 2005 Activities
Ø TEEN PREACHES TO TEENS
Ø Åpen Dør – CHILDREN ATTRACT PARENTS!
Ø VARIETY FOR WORSHIP SERVICES – Homes, Community Centre, Monitor & Super Sabbaths!
Ø CHARITY CONCERT IN TOWN!
Ø TRANSLATOR ACCEPTS JESUS!
Ø REACHING OUT TO CHARLIE & CHARLUA
Ø A CHURCH PLANTING STORY TO ENJOY! – An experience to encourage a church planter!
WATT Activities – FOR POSTMODERN FRIENDS
Here are two good ministry ideas from WATT (Assen, Netherlands) – (1) Jobbing with WATT: Once a month the men get together – and invite friends to join them – to do odd jobs for friends, neighbours, etc; and (2) WATT DVD?: Once a month the group invite friends to watch a Biblical DVD. This way they learn to know the Bible stories in an easy and casual way. They also watch other movies – movies that cultivate dialogue and interaction.
TILBURG CHURCH PLANT – Plans 2005 Activities
The newly planted Antillian church in Tilburg has developed their 2005 schedule of activities for their friends. These include – (1) a series of 26 evangelistic meetings – with fellowship meals; (2) major social/fellowship evenings for unchurched friends; (3) weekly sporting events for unchurched Antillian youth & street kids; (4) the establishment of a café church, and (5) the development of a community youth mime club. A team plan to soon visit CaféKirken (Copenhagen) to get more ideas on their initiative to plant a café church.
TEEN PREACHES TO TEENS
A very exciting this is happening this weekend. “This Sabbath one of our teens is going to preach for the 40 – 50 teens we expect at Remix!” writes Tina Kjeldal – one of the planters of REMIX – a church for unchurched teens in Copenhagen, Denmark. “She has never preached before. She is only 16. She is so cool – cool in her commitment to Jesus and courage and willingness. God is so good!”
Åpen Dør – CHILDREN ATTRACT PARENTS!
“Åpen Dør (a replant in Porsgrunn, Norway) is now entering its third year of ministry and it has been an exciting journey for us,” writes Anne-Beate Andersen. “The attendance has been good. People seem to come back and we believe that in many ways our Children’s Ministry is responsible for this.” With more volunteers (thanks Vanja, Ivar, Joachim, Bent & others!) there are now two classes – caring for a growing number of 2 to 13 year old children. “This is very exciting for us because the children now ask their parents to take them to church,” says Anne-Beate.
“This is inspiring us all. We are now planning a party for the children this winter. The idea is to invite children from the community and neighbourhood to a party with puppets, games and food.”
VARIETY FOR WORSHIP SERVICES – Homes, Community Centre, Monitor & Super Sabbaths!
Åpen Dør is attracting new guests. However, this church plant does not always meet in the community centre (Folkets Hus) for their worship services. “Once a month we have met in homes,” writes Anne-Beate Andersen. “We felt a need to meet once a month just to talk, share a meal and get to know each other better – sharing socially and spiritually. This Sabbath 35 people met in our home and we had a wonderful time together singing and sharing testimonies.”
On the Sabbath when Åpen Dør meets in the community centre (Folkets Hus) they alternate between “Monitor Sabbaths” and “Super Sabbaths”. “When we have Monitor Sabbaths we only use a monitor (a loudspeaker) and one microphone,” says Anne-Beate. “The decoration and serving of food is minimal on these days as well. We have done this so that people can relax and have the possibility for an alternative study group before the worship service!” On the Super Sabbaths the full worship team leads – with all the instruments, equipment, decorations and something extra to eat after the service! (This is an experiment and will be evaluated by the church in January 2005.)
CHARITY CONCERT IN TOWN!
The big Åpen Dør event this fall was a charity concert in Borgestad Church – the beautiful and prominent Porsgrunn town church. “The concert raised funds for an ADRA water project in Darfur (Sudan),” reports Anne-Beate Andersen. “We had sponsors from the local community and musicians from the community and other parts of the country. We were very excited and stressed,”
TRANSLATOR ACCEPTS JESUS!
Lena visit the Christian Russian Club (The Word) established by the Russian SEED café church plant in Helsinki, Finland. “She speaks Finnish very well and so we asked her to translate Finnish sermons for us,” says church planter Liia Kaitanen. “She agreed to help us and after about a year Lena made a decision that she wants to be baptised.” Lena has been a great support. The Russian SEED café church is reaching friends through their Club, a psychological support group, small groups, evangelistic meetings with guest speakers from Russia and Ukraine, a monthly radio broadcast and a summer Bible camp – beside a forest lake (complete with Finnish sauna!).
REACHING OUT TO CHARLIE & CHARLUA
With plans to build a community and presentation centre in Nicosia (Cyprus) taking shape, the members spent two days this week discussing ways to relate to their community. There is still a lot of work to do on understanding God’s purpose and vision for the project. However, possibilities opened when a large sector of the community were identified as ‘Charlies’ (and ‘Charluas’ – females) – the local name for those Cypriots who have returned after overseas study and work. Add to this the value that Cypriots place upon their families – and a willingness to do almost anything for their kids. Then think of the possibilities of a mission statement like – “We choose to concentrate on Charlie & Charlua – chomping on chocolate in children’s (bouncy) castles to cultivate a cool Cypriot community”! Although some in the group feared they did not have many friends, our discussions revealed most members have many Charlie & Charlua friendships that could be cultivated in fun ways.
A CHURCH PLANTING STORY TO ENJOY – Music for Worship!
“I was thinking on Tuesday how to improve our Sabbath worship,” Kobanya church planter László Szabó. “I thought it would be very good if we would have a keyboard and someone to play keyboard.” Remembering a musician in one of his small groups – a man who has not attended church and who used to rock and pop, playing keyboard and drums – László called him. “Tibor, I have got an idea on how to make our worship nicer. We need a keyboard and someone to play it. What do you think about joining us and playing keyboard for worship?”
“I was surprised when I heard his answer,” says László.
He said, “I tell you in front of God, if you get a keyboard, I will come to the church and do the music.”
“He was not joking and I sensed that he is serious,” László says. “I told him he should look for a keyboard. After 30 minutes he called to say he had found one. He told me the type and the price and I got a shock. It was quite expensive!”
“Couldn’t you find something cheaper?” László asked him. His answer was, “For God you cannot have cheep quality.”
It was agreed that Tibor would prepare the music and László would try to get the 1,200 Euro.
László writes, “That was Tuesday. On Wednesday I have got a phone call. A person wanted me to talk and pray with him. He does it every month whenever he has a problem. We met, read the Bible and I prayed for him. At the end he asked some questions about the church. He had visited our worship once. I told him that very soon we are going to develop our music and he would be surprised. I told him about the idea of a keyboard and more music. He liked it – and suddenly he said that he would like to buy the keyboard. I was surprised. He knew that he is not a rich man. I told him the amount and told him not to make any quick decision. But he said, he would like to honour God this way. The next day (Thursday) he bought the keyboard for us. Tibor and I thought we were dreaming. It is fantastic. We saw it as a quick response from God.”
But the story continues. László continues – “On Friday the man who bought the keyboard called me and said: ‘Listen, God gave me the money back within 24 hours.’ He had received a phone call from a car company from which he had ordered a second hand car two weeks earlier and paid 3,000 Euro in advance. The salesman called him on Friday morning to say that he could pick up his car for the bank had now advanced the rest of the money to pay for the car. He went to the company, signed the contract and got his car. Before leaving the company the manager came to him and said, ‘I am sorry that you had to wait so long for your car. I thought I we will give you back some money.’ He gave him back exactly the same amount he paid for the keyboard – plus a 10 Euro tip!”
László concludes, “Two people were involved in the story – the musician and the buyer! Neither has been attending worship at our Kobanya church plant. For a month I had been struggling to know how to invite them to worship. Last Sabbath was a very special day for us. I called the buyer and invited him to our worship. He said immediately ‘Yes’ to the invitation – and, of course we are using his instrument for the worship music. And, the musician made fantastic music!”