Another year – and new opportunities. I encourage you to be courageous for God.
We need to be! Last night I was looking at figures for my own denomination in Australia. With a book membership of over 55,000, it ‘grew’ by only 837 people in one year – less than 2 for each local church and about 1 for each pastor! This 1.55% increase could only be considered ‘growth’ if compared to the losses of some others – and such comparisons don’t honor God!
Just before Christmas some committed to fostering missional movements met for ‘fruit toast’, coffee, prayer and talk. Dave Lawton had recently returned from India. He had taken a group of church planters to sit at the feet of movement leaders. They observed that in all cases miracles opened the way – miracles of healing or deliverance. We asked, ‘What did you and your planters see as key factors in these movements?’ Dave responded, ‘First, constant passionate prayer – a hunger for a closer relationship with God and the activity of his Spirit in mission. Second, a boldness in telling the story of Jesus – not good advice, but the story of Jesus and his love, his death and resurrection!’
Sounds like the stories in the Book of Acts, doesn’t it?
Be courageous and faithful,
CHURCH PLANTING NEWS – 6 Jan 2011 (more resources and links at www.newchurchlife.com)
Small Church Plant – invites community to sing with them! Without good singers – but with a very accomplished musician, a small church plant in Kocevje, Slovenia decided to invite people from the town to join them in singing Christmas carols. That was seven years ago. At first it was in their small facilities, but that was too small – so the next year they moved to a Christmas decorations exhibition centre. This last Christmas they decided to ask the municipal authorities for the use of the regional Museum Hall. Having heard good responses in the previous years – the large hall was give free of charge, along with advertising on two local FM stations. The hall was full – supported by a city choir.
Community Carols – motivated by question! This community carols was one activity launched after considering the question: ‘If our church one day ceased to exist, would your fellow citizens notice it?’ Tihomir Odorcic reports that this annual carols singing has become an important community event, ‘It looks like if we were to cancel it for one year that the community would not only notice it, but also protest!’ You can check out their new website – www.adventistikocevje.org (there is a video in English!).
Simple Churches! One involved in the multiplying movements of church planting in China responded to our last Church Planting News with the comment: ‘Jesus hung out with a small group of people, and check out that growth! Once we get over 20 to 30 people we need ‘systems’ – and with them ‘man arrives’ and the ‘religious controls’ are on! This is how we are wired, we can’t help ourselves! But keep it small, network, meet in homes & coffee houses – and as it grows raise up more leaders and give them away with some of the group to multiply growth!’
Offer to Join Planters in North Norway! Gunnhild and Jan Erik have pioneered an amazing missional community in Steigen. We have shared more than one news-story from their work. Now, they write: ‘Maybe you know someone who could like to move to Norway and help us with our work. For many years we have prayed for co-workers. It seems difficult because we live in the north of Norway, in the countryside… But, it is beautiful up here! Our work is not of big scale, but what we have done has opened the environment for greater things.’ There is work being done for students who don’t fit into the schools, youth clubs, Bible groups, annual camps, etc. Gunnhild writes, ‘Next year the nightbour farm is for sale, and we would buy it if we could find a couple who would like to live here and work for the Lord.’ Of course knowing Norwegian would help – but, Gunnhild says, that can be learnt. If you would like to explore the possibilities – contact Gunnhild [email protected].
Church planting ‘gets into your blood’! ‘I dont know that we could ever go back to sitting in pews again :)’ says planter Julie Baum.
Equipping opportunities …
Church & Adventist Identity in the 21st Century: Avondale College invites you to attend this round-table summit – 16-19 January 2011
# Discussion leaders: Dr Richard Rice – contemporary theological issues; Dr Reinder Bruinsma – missiologist, church leader & prolific author; Rudy Dingjan – coordinator Netherlands church planting; and church planter, Peter Roennfeldt.
# Themes include: identity in the 21st century / fresh expressions of church in western environments / old and new church interaction!
# Workshop options will include:
Creating Lasting Community through Small Group Networking: Lorin Pratt
How to Pass on Faith to the Next Generation: Julie Judd
Adventist Identity in Church Planting: Wayne Krause
Apologetics in a Contemporary Context: Grenville Kent
Online information & registration: visit www.avondale.edu.au/AdventistID or contact Avondale College Advancement Office on (02) 4980 2252
Church Planting Conference with Stuart Murray-Williams (UK), David Chatelier (BUV) & Martin Boutros (CoC) – Feb 18-20, 2011: for venue, costs & registration see http://www.buv.com.au/ministries/church-planting.
Western Australia Church Planting Summit – March 4-7, 2011 @ Logue Brook Dam: Plan to participate in a developing movement of church planters. In 2010 over 100 planters were equipped and inspired – in 2011, it may be 200+. Contact Marilyn Ostring for registration details [email protected]. Presenters include Glenn Townend – Adventist leader in Western Australia, Milton Adams – Simple Church practitioner & specialist, Peter Roennfeldt – church planter & consultant! Every existing team of church planters is encouraged to enlist and bring a team of four who could launch a fresh expression of church!
Exponential 2011: On the Verge! God is up to something. A growing number of church leaders sense it. Could the church be on the verge of something big? What if the next great movement stands knocking at our door? Come find out more at the largest gathering of church planting leaders on the planet – the 2011 Exponential Conference. The Exponential Conference and the Verge Conference are joining forces to host this historic, international event, On the Verge, April 26 – 29, 2011 in Orlando, FL. http://www.exponentialconference.com/
Mike Breem’s Blog on Exponential/Verge Church Planting Conference: http://mikebreen.wordpress.com/2011/01/02/check-out-this-article/
Check the 3dmAustralia Facebook page:http://www.facebook.com/pages/3dmAustralia/151696244878517?v=wall . If you have a facebook account you can ‘like’ the page and get updates!
Video Clips for teaching Missional Communities: For video for teaching in missional groups
For Responses to ‘Social Networking is Changing the Church’ – go to www.newchurchlife.com [see Institutions vs. Collaboration by Clay Shirky http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPQViNNOAkw]
CHURCH PLANTING NEWS Peter Roennfeldt